Onondaga Health Department, SU partner to address campus tobacco-use policies
In an effort to reduce smoking and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke among college students, Syracuse University is partnering with the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) through a program called Colleges for Change (C4C).
Administered by OCHD and funded by the New York State Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program, C4C works with colleges and universities to promote a tobacco-free environment and to limit where and how tobacco products are used, promoted, advertised and sold on and around campus. These goals aim to advance local action to prevent and reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
The C4C program was developed in response to New York state data showing that adults ages 18-24 have the highest smoking prevalence in New York. Since passage of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in 1998, 18-25-year-olds, the youngest legal market for the tobacco industry to target, are heavily targeted by the industry.
The American College Health Association’s most recent guidance regarding tobacco use encourages colleges and universities to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100 percent indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.
Cynthia Morrow, commissioner of health for Onondaga County, views the SU and OCHD cooperative effort as an exciting opportunity for strengthening tobacco control on the campus and in the community. “This partnership is an excellent way to actively engage college-age adults to address young adult tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke,” she says.
C4C directs numerous evidenced-based initiatives focusing on changing social norms around tobacco use in the college campus environment. These include:
- “No Thanks Big Tobacco”: Tobacco companies have a long history of sponsoring events, both on and off campuses, and contributing to the arts and not-for-profit organizations. C4C will work to end tobacco company sponsorship both on and around the SU campus.
- Smoke-Free Housing: Although New York residential halls are smoke-free, those students living off campus are not guaranteed the same right. C4C will work to encourage off-campus apartment complexes and other multi-unit housing properties where students reside to adopt written non-smoking policies.
- Tobacco-Free/Smoke-Free Outdoors: Communities across the country and in New York state are implementing ordinances and laws prohibiting smoking in outdoor venues in the interest of limiting exposure to secondhand smoke and lessening the appeal of smoking. C4C will focus on changing policies or passing ordinances related to the use of tobacco products on the college campus and outdoor areas in the surrounding community.
- Point of Sale: C4C will encourage the college campus to adopt a written policy banning the sale of tobacco products on campus.
For more information, contact Katelyn M. Upcraft, public health educator, Tobacco Control Program, at (315) 435-3280 or KatelynUpcraft@ongov.net.