There are currently at least 774 colleges and universities across the United States that have a 100% smoke-free or tobacco free campus. Surprisingly Johns Hopkins is not one of them. This major leap on college campuses is the best method to protect students, faculty, and employees from second hand smoke as well as encouraging those who smoke to quit. According to the 2012 Surgeon General's Report on Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults:
· In 2010, there were more than 20 million students enrolled in degree-granting institutions. This does not include faculty, staff, and visitors to campuses who are also impacted by a smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policy.
· Many risk factors, including tobacco use, peak from 18-25 years of age; college attendance could be a turning point in choosing not to use tobacco
· 24.8% of full-time college students aged 18-22 years old were current smokers in 2010.
· The number of smokers who initiated smoking after age 18 increased from 600,000 in 2002 to 1 million in 2010.
· Progression from occasional to daily smoking almost always occurs by age 26.
· While smoking rates are higher for their peers not enrolled in college, college students and campus policies offer a unique opportunity to create and sustain tobacco-free living. (http://www.no-smoke.org/goingsmokefree.php?id=447)
For a university that emphasizes and excels in public health and medicine, it simply does not make sense that smoking is still permitted especially on a campus where most of the undergraduate students live and study. The State of Maryland specifies that people smoking should be 15 feet away from a building. However, Johns Hopkins University does not indicate these laws in the student handbook or in student life policies and there is little to no enforcement of this law on campus. There are people smoking right outside classroom buildings, the library and on pathways with heavy pedestrian traffic. This is harmful and unpleasant for passerbys who do not wish to encounter second hand smoke. It is time that we make the leap as well and promote a healthier smoke-free campus.
Want to know who else has gone smoke-free? See this list for a state by state listing of colleges and universities that have taken on the policy change.
Want to know more about going smoke-free? Come to our meeting tonight at 6pm in Mattin 160!