Sage to Go Tobacco Free Jan. 1, 2012

November 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm


New Report Shows Local Campuses Part of Statewide Trend

In recognition of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, The Sage Colleges and The College of Saint Rose announced today that their campuses will become tobacco free on January 1, 2012. The Capital Region colleges are part of a statewide trend detailed in a report released today by the American Cancer Society. 

This policy covers cigarettes and tobacco products of any kind and applies to all members of the Sage community including students, faculty, staff, tenants, and administrators, as well as visitors to the Sage campuses.

The Sage Colleges is committed to promoting wellness and a healthy lifestyle not only for its students, employees and visitors, but for the greater community as well.  A tobacco-free policy underscores Sage’s commitment to creating the healthiest, greenest and most welcoming environment for the campus community.

Launching a tobacco-free initiative sends a strong message that at Sage, educators and wellness advocates believe that smoking and the use of tobacco products are not only harmful to those who use them, but also to those who are involuntarily exposed to secondhand smoke. 

President Scrimshaw acknowledges that, “Sage is a renowned institutional leader in the health sciences and a staunch advocate for healthy living.  Becoming tobacco-free underscores our commitment to the promotion of wellness and healthier environments in which to study, work and live.“

According to the American Cancer Society’s "Tobacco-Free U: NYS Colleges Expel Tobacco," the number of colleges that have adopted tobacco-free/smoke-free policies since the mid-2000s has increased 15 fold. Tobacco free means that the use of tobacco in any form is prohibited everywhere on campus. Smoke free means that smoking tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is prohibited everywhere on campus.

The American Cancer Society gathered data for Tobacco-Free U over the course of one year from 98 percent of college campuses across New York State (192 out of 194 colleges).  Key findings of the report include:

Capital Region:

  • 21 percent have implemented a tobacco-free or smoke-free campus policy
  • 21 percent are in the process of adopting/implementing a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy in the near future
  • Overall, 42 percent of college campuses either have implemented or are in the process of adopting/implementing a    tobacco-free or smoke-free policy.

New York State:

  • 16 percent have implemented a tobacco-free or smoke-free campus policy
  •  23 percent are in the process of adopting/implementing a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy in the near future
  • Overall, 39 percent of college campuses either have implemented or are in the process of adopting/implementing a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy.

“The College of Saint Rose and The Sage Colleges have shown a strong commitment to the health of their students, faculty and staff by making their campuses completely tobacco free,” said Diana Martin, American Cancer Society, Regional Vice President. “As our report shows, these local colleges are among those at the forefront of the growing tobacco-free campus movement in New York State.”

According to the American Cancer Society, college campuses are an important target of the tobacco industry. Tobacco companies understand that time away at college is when many students solidify long-term lifestyle choices. In New York State, the rate of smoking in the 18-24 age group (23.1 percent) is 83 percent higher than that of high school age students (12.6 percent). While smoking among 18-24 year olds is harmful to the individual smoker, it also endangers non-smokers through secondhand smoke exposure.  

"According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoking, secondhand smoke, and the use of tobacco products have been identified as the most important sources of preventable morbidity and premature mortality in the world,” said Susan Scrimshaw, President of The Sage Colleges. “Becoming a tobacco-free environment underscores Sage's commitment to the promotion of healthy living and demonstrates our dedication to providing a healthy, comfortable, safe and productive environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors."  

“Decades of research have made it abundantly clear: tobacco use in general, including smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, is a health, safety and environmental hazard,” said Saint Rose President Dr. R. Mark Sullivan.  “The College of Saint Rose is committed to promoting healthy living, wellness and prevention within its community, as well as providing a healthy environment for all who come to our campus to learn or to work.”

The Sage Colleges and The College of Saint Rose join Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Maria College, the first local colleges to go tobacco free. Nursing colleges became tobacco free as the hospitals they were affiliated with went tobacco free several years ago. 

Details about Sage's tobacco-free policy, enforcement, and smoking cessation programs are available at www.sage.edu/tobaccofree