Picture this: It’s a beautiful April day on campus and the classroom window is wide open. You’re teaching a class of young, healthy college students. In between your lecture points, you take a deep breath of fresh spring air but all you can smell is cigarette smoke. 🙁
That’s the experience that prompted Lisa Marsherall, director of the Communications program at Medaille, to work with college administration to establish a smoke-free policy on campus. She had many supporters along the way, including Kenneth Manning, a Roswell Park board member and partner at Phillips Lytle LLP in Buffalo.
And now it’s official. On July 1, Medaille joined the 1,137 other colleges across the US 1,137 that prohibit the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes anywhere on campus. What a great time to declare freedom from secondhand smoke, poisonous litter and possible residence hall fires.
“As an academic institution, we have an obligation to model positive behaviors, as well as set a positive example for our community, said Dr. Kenneth Macur, President of Medaille College. “Having a smoke-free policy at Medaille is a step in the right direction towards a healthier campus for students, faculty, staff and the general public.”
According to Macur, many students and staff have asked about the enforcement of the smoke-free policy. “After a ‘soft launch’ on January 1st, we are almost there already,” he noted. “RAs and RDs will manage the ban in the residence halls. For the rest of the campus, it starts with each person honoring the policy and respecting the desire for all of us to have a smoke-free environment.”
In the 3 years the college has been working on this policy change, both students and faculty have been involved and shared their support. Signs were posted and smoker’s poles taken away this 4th of July.
Tobacco-free college campuses are another important step towards denormalizing tobacco use. Students who enter college today have grown up with fewer places to smoke and less exposure to secondhand smoke. This generation will enter workplaces where smoking is not allowed indoors, and most likely, outdoors as well.
“Tobacco-free environments are becoming more expected–and respected–by the community,” said Jenna Brinkworth, Community Engagement Coordinator at Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara. “Just as we transitioned to a clean indoor air policy almost 20 years ago, we are now finding increased demand for tobacco-free parks, worksites, sporting events, public settings and college campuses.”
Congratulations, Medaille College, for being a part of this movement. Your policy will positively impact community health for generations to come.