NEW JERSEY COLLEGES EXPEL TOBACCO

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1 NEW JERSEY COLLEGES EXPEL TOBACCO January 2013

2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Tobacco-Free U: New Jersey Colleges Expel Tobacco was written by Michael Seserman, MPH, RD, and Jennifer L. Sullivan, MS Ed, Directors of Strategic Health Alliances at the American Cancer Society, Eastern Division and Marc Flury, student intern, American Cancer Society, Eastern Division. Thank you to all who contributed to the completion of this report. For more information about Tobacco-Free U and to access the report, visit To get tips on how to quit smoking, contact the American Cancer Society at or log onto , American Cancer Society, Eastern Division. 2

3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Smoke-free (SF) or tobacco-free (TF) campus policies are a growing trend across the country. There are now at least 825 smoke-free or tobacco-free colleges in the United States where smoking is not allowed anywhere on the campus. Public and private institutions of higher education are recognizing the important health and economic benefits of having a SF/TF campus policy. Secondhand tobacco smoke is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Class A carcinogen, the same as asbestos, and there is no level of exposure considered to be safe. Recent evidence suggests that shortterm exposure to secondhand smoke, even outdoors, puts people at risk, especially those with pre-existing cardiac and pulmonary illness. In addition to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, SF/TF campus policies help to reduce the initiation of tobacco use among young people and assist youth and adults who are trying to quit smoking. There are many other reasons that campuses establish tobacco free policies. In addition to the clear health and economic benefits, tobacco free policies create a change in culture where respect for others and respect for the environment become the focal point. Major Findings 24 percent have implemented a tobacco-free or smoke-free campus policy. 35 percent have smoke-free policies with designated smoking areas. 59% of college campuses have either completely prohibited smoking /tobacco use or have limited smoking areas on campus. Zero campuses are currently in the process of adopting/implementing a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy in the near future, however as a result of this report, we hope that more campuses will pursue policy change and will utilize our resources for guidance. Recommendations All New Jersey colleges should adopt a tobacco free campus policy to protect the entire campus community. Colleges should not be supporting the initiation of a lifelong addiction to tobacco as a result of weak policies that give tacit approval and put young and vulnerable people at risk. New Jersey should better support SF/TF campus policies by increasing funding to the state's Office on Tobacco Control. New Jersey will spend only one percent of the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended level of $119.8 million per year. New Jersey should follow the lead of other states by requiring that all private and public colleges have in place and enforce a tobacco-free campus policy. 3

4 BACKGROUND College students at risk Evidence suggests that if a youth does not begin smoking by the age of 26 then it is very unlikely that he or she will ever smoke. 1 Therefore, college campuses are an important target of the tobacco industry due to the number of young adults they can reach with their aggressive marketing. Each year cigarette manufacturers need to addict more than 400,000 new users in the U.S. to replace those who have died from long-term use of tobacco. The tobacco industry attempts to take advantage of college-age youth, understanding that this period is when many long-term lifestyle The tobacco industry attempts to take advantage of college-age youth, understanding that this period is when many long-term lifestyle choices are made and solidified. choices are made and solidified. This period has been labeled as a dynamic time in the lives of college students. 2 Use of tobacco for the first time and regular use of tobacco has been seen to increase while in college from freshman to senior year. 3 Not only does that put the age group at high risk for initiating and strengthening an addiction to tobacco but it simultaneously endangers non-smokers on campus and contributes to a costly litter and image problem on campus. A tobacco-free policy ensures that campuses are not unintentionally supporting the initiation of lifelong tobacco addiction among students as a result of weak smoking policies. Studies have found tobacco-free policies to be an effective way to reduce tobacco use among college students. 4 Hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities have gone smoke-free or tobacco-free. Tobacco-free campuses are a growing trend for private and state run colleges across the country. There are now at least % smoke-free campuses with no exceptions. Residential housing facilities are included, where they exist. Of these campuses, 608 have a 100% tobacco-free policy. Three states now require that all public colleges and universities be 100% smoke-free including Iowa, whose law also covers private colleges. Since 2010, the number of SF/TF college policies in the U.S. has nearly doubled. 5 The TF campus trend in the U.S. appears correlated with the increase in state and local clean indoor air legislation, changing social norms, and recent scientific studies detailing The growing evidence of harm caused by tobacco use and secondhand smoke has resulted in at least 825 smoke-free or tobacco-free campuses in America. the harmful effects of even short-term exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. 6 Secondhand tobacco smoke is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Class A carcinogen, the same as asbestos, with no known safe level of exposure. Recent evidence suggests that short term exposure to secondhand 4

5 smoke, even outdoors, puts people at risk, especially those with pre-existing cardiac and pulmonary illness. 6 Consequently, liability concerns may also be a growing factor associated with institutions adopting such policies. In addition to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, the understanding that intuitional policies play an important role in developing lifelong behaviors may be an important policy driver. Evidence suggests that SF/TF campus policies reduce the initiation of tobacco use among young people and assist youth and adults who are trying to quit smoking and avoid relapse. 4 The adoption of tobacco-free college campus policies may also be facilitated by the increased focus of large employers on worksite wellness initiatives to reduce spiraling healthcare costs. Studies indicate that businesses experience substantially higher healthcare costs and lower rates of productivity as a result of tobacco using employees. 7 The CDC estimates that each smoking employee costs companies $4,500 more per year compared to non-smoking workers. 8 A tobacco-free policy on college campuses may also lead to reductions in upper respiratory infections and other tobacco-related illnesses, lower rates of smoking among employees, lower maintenance and cleaning costs, decreased risk of fires, a more attractive campus and work environment, and reduced insurance rates. 7 The purpose of this report was to determine to what extent have colleges in New Jersey adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies. RESULTS Statewide Findings: More than 1 in four colleges have adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies. In New Jersey there are 66 colleges: 9 state, 3 public, 14 independent four-year, 19 community, 12 rabbinical schools, 2 independent religious, and 7 proprietary institutions with degree granting authority. The American Cancer Society was able to acquire at least the current tobacco use policy at 55 or 83% of New Jersey colleges. (Table 1 and 2) Of the 66 colleges in the state, 17 or 26% of them have established a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy. Twenty-three colleges or 35% were found to restrict smoking to designated smoking areas away from the buildings. The public colleges in New Jersey were more likely to be SF/TF with 12 (39%) reporting a policy in place, while 5 (14%) private colleges met the criteria for a SF/TF campus policy. (Table 1) That said, none of the three public research universities are SF or TF (Table 2). 5

6 Table 1: Number and Percentages of Colleges with Tobacco Free or Smoke Free Policies Public Colleges Private Colleges Total # % # % # % Total Colleges SF/TF in Progress TOTAL SF/TF and In Progress SF/TF campus policies are spread among many types of colleges in the state (Table 2). Even so, community colleges are clearly leading the way with 53% of the 19 community colleges in the state reporting a SF/TF policy. Community colleges actually make up 59% of all SF/TF campus policies in New Jersey. State Colleges and Universities Table 2: Tobacco Free or Smoke Free Colleges by Affiliation Public Research Universities Community Colleges Independent Four-Year Colleges Rabbinical Schools/ Theological Seminaries Independent Religious Colleges Proprietary Institutions w/ Degree- Granting Authority # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % Total Total Colleges Smoke- Free or Tobacco- Free In Progress TOTAL SF/TF and In Progress

7 Community colleges are leading this growing trend in smokefree and tobacco-free campuses. DISCUSSION The majority of colleges in New Jersey have begun addressing the serious risk of tobacco use on campus. One out of four colleges have implemented completely smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies. The public institutions, especially community colleges, are leading this growing trend. Although 35% of colleges have established designated smoking areas such as smoking huts, which is a positive step, experience suggests that these types of policies are more difficult to enforce, compliance is poor, and the campus community is still being exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke. The trend in SF/TF college campuses is the latest, but perhaps one of the most salient steps toward a tobacco-free society. Colleges represent what has been called the latest battleground in the tobacco wars. Until recently, New Jersey has been very successful at delaying smoking initiation among high school age children. Young adults are now major targets for the tobacco industry who count on attracting new legal customers as early as possible. SF/TF policies provide fewer opportunities for youth to become addicted, essentially weakening the tobacco industry s recruitment strategy. Tobacco use restrictions also help to de-normalize the behavior, further attenuating the impact of aggressive marketing by tobacco manufacturers and retailers. With so many colleges choosing to enact tobacco-free policies, it is unfortunate that the state has virtually eliminated the Tobacco Control Program budget in recent years. Institutions of higher education need a great deal of guidance, support, and access to resources to transition to a tobacco-free environment. Consider the increased needs for training staff, signage, and consultation to enhance or create cessation services on campus and improve access to cessation pharmacotherapy treatments. All of these services have been cut or eliminated recently. Meanwhile, the state takes in more than $1 billion each year from tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes but is spending not even a full penny on the dollar to help people quit, 9 reduce New Jersey takes in more than $1 billion each year from tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes but is spending not even a full penny on the dollar to help people quit, reduce secondhand smoke exposure, and assisting institutions like colleges to become tobacco free. secondhand smoke exposure, and assisting institutions like colleges to become tobacco free. Cost-saving initiatives like tobacco control should be spared and even expanded to reduce healthcare costs and boost productivity. New Jersey should also consider following the lead of other states by requiring that all colleges establish and enforce a tobacco-free campus policy.

8 METHODS The American Cancer Society gathered data for Tobacco-Free U from the 66 college campuses across New Jersey from August through October A survey instrument was developed to gather the data to assess current tobacco policies at these campuses. This report focuses on SF/TF policies. A college was deemed smoke-free if smoking was not allowed anywhere on property owned or leased by the college. If there were no areas on campus or occupied by the college where smoking any tobacco products or using smokeless tobacco products were allowed, the school was considered tobaccofree. The American Cancer Society contacted colleges from seven groups: twelve State University of New Jersey colleges, three public research universities, sixteen independent four-year colleges, nineteen community colleges, twelve rabbinical schools/theological seminaries, two independent religious colleges, and three proprietary institutions with degree-granting authorities. Contact was made via phone to specific departments on college campuses. These departments included residential life, health/wellness services, human resources, and student affairs. If a targeted college representative was not available, a voice message was left detailing the process and explaining the purpose of the call. Follow up s and calls were made accordingly to increase participation and acquire accurate information. Any information not received from a campus contact was gathered via online student handbooks found on official college websites. The handbook collection process helped to clarify answers from college representatives and, in some cases, used as a main source of tobacco policy information if responses from a college was delayed or never received. Also, a web-based version of the survey was developed via Survey Monkey for college contacts that preferred to answer online. For the purpose of this analysis, it was assumed that colleges without any available data do allow tobacco use outside since that is the most common status and the minimum standard imposed by state law. It was also assumed that all online student handbooks referenced for data collection were up to date at the time of data collection. This report has some limitations. The data collected was largely self-reported by college staff. It is possible that some interviewees or respondents may have provided inaccurate information. However, when possible, the information was validated using other means such as an online student handbook. 8

9 ENDNOTES 1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, Colder, Craig R., Flay, Brian R., Segawa, Eisuke, Hedeker, Donald & TERN Members (2008). Trajectories of Smoking Among Freshmen College Students With Prior Smoking History And Risk For Future Smoking: data from the University Project Tobacco Etiology Research Network (UpTERN) study. Addiction,109, DOI: /j Clarkin, Patrick F., Tisch, Linda A. & Glicksman, Arvin S. (2008). Socioeconomic Correlates of Current and Regular Smoking Among College Students in Rhode Island. Journal of American College Health, 57(2), DOI: /JACH Seo, Chul, Macy, Jonathan T., Torabi, Mohammad R., & Middlestadt, Susan E. (2011). The effect of a smoke-free campus policy on college students smoking behaviors and attitudes. Preventive Medicine, 2011 Aug 9. doi: /j.ypmed American Nonsmokers s Rights Foundation (2012). U.S. Colleges and Universities with Smoke-free Air Policies. ANRF 2011 Report, 1-5. Retrieved from 6 Department of Health and Human Services (2006). Surgeon General s Report States Secondhand Smoke Is a Serious Health Hazard. Office of Disease prevention and Health promotion, 21(1), Americans for Nonsmokers Rights (2006). Business Costs in Smoke Filled Environments. Retrieved from 8 Department of Health and Human Services. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments: Why, What, and How Numbers adjusted to 2012 using the consumer health index. 9 Sciandra R and Horner B. Up in Smoke; New Jersey Reaps Billions in Revenue While Short Changing Anti-Smoking Programs. American Cancer Society

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