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Tobacco ban across CUNY

All 23 CUNY campuses are expected to institute a campus wide tobacco-free policy, which bans the use of tobacco on all indoor and outdoor facilities, on Sept. 4.

Throughout the year, CUNY colleges have been working toward implementing the ban. While some schools have put in minimal effort to enforce the revised tobacco policy, others have made sure to make the ban a major part of campus life.

The ban has been implemented in a variety of ways, including providing training and education to staff and students, posting permanent signage and providing smoking cessation programs, according to the Healthy CUNY website.

QC introduced its smoke-free campaign in January, months before it was required to be implemented. Students and faculty were notified of the change through emails and signs with a “Breathe Easy” slogan, which were posted in every building. Free counseling and nicotine replacement therapy were offered to the campus community. However, there are no enforcement protocols in place.

Many of the colleges are using web campaigns to spread the message by featuring the upcoming changes on the school’s website, which provides general information about the new policy and outlines the benefits of quitting smoking, as well as linking to the Healthy CUNY site and resources for cessation programs.

CUNY schools, Hunter, York and Hostos Community College, have web campaigns. Medgar Evers and LaGuardia Community College simply direct visitors to the Healthy CUNY website.

The Healthy CUNY provides vast information about the policy and features a “Message from Chancellor Goldstein” and “An Open Letter on CUNY Tobacco Policy to the University Community.” The site details the development and expansion of the tobacco-free policy and provides information about training opportunities, cessation resources and policy implementation.

Lehman College, which went tobacco-free on July 1, actively recruited the help of faculty, staff and students in implementing and enforcing the ban. The student health center sponsored a “Tobacco’s Wacko” kickoff event, according to the college’s website. In addition, a series of informational sessions were held as well as a town hall meeting on tobacco cessation.

Queensborough Community College president, Diane Call, encouraged the QCC community to add the tobacco-free automatic signature to all their emails. As part of QCC’s awareness and education campaign, tobacco-free messaging will be used on all publications, flyers, posters and banners. For them, the ban goes into effect on Aug. 27.

While most schools are relying on signs to enforce the new policy, City College and the College of Staten Island are taking a more active approach.

According to CSI’s Tobacco-Free Environment Task Force, “anyone violating the policy may be subject to disciplinary action.” No one could be reached for further explanation of what that disciplinary action may entail. Visitors who fail to follow the rules “may be told to leave campus and be prohibited from returning.” Their ban was implemented July 1.

At City College, the Department of Public Safety may issue warnings. Those who fail to comply after multiple warnings “could be subject to corrective action under applicable disciplinary policies,” according to CUNY Newswire.

CUNY joins more than 500 colleges in adopting a new tobacco policy, becoming the largest public university system to do so.

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