College of the Redwoods Goes Smoke Free
During the January 10th Board of Trustees meeting, the Trustees approved a new policy designating the Redwoods Community College District as a smoke and tobacco-free environment. The policy will take effect during January 2017.
The Trustees approved the new policy recognizing that the College has an obligation to create a healthy environment for current and future employees and students. Trustee Bruce Emad said that “the passage of the policy culminates the efforts of our past and present Trustees to create a healthy environment for our staff and students to pursue their work and educational goals. This policy aligns our institution of higher learning with the best science available.”
The policy includes the prohibition of smoking of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other tobacco products as well as any other substance. The use of smokeless tobacco products (e.g., chewing tobacco, snus, snuff, etc.) and the use of electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes) are also prohibited. The use of such products are prohibited on all District owned or controlled properties, and at any District events (athletic events, etc.)
“We are truly excited to make College of the Redwoods a safe, healthy and productive environment,” said CR Interim President Keith Snow-Flamer. “The health benefits of reducing secondhand smoke exposure are invaluable and could also help students prepare for the workforce, where smoke-free policies are already the norm.”
CR is also one of only five community colleges in California that will receive funds and technical support from the Truth Initiative, the nation’s largest non-profit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past. Through five rounds of grants, the Truth Initiative has partnered with 88 community colleges and hopes to reach more than 1 million community college students and 74,000 faculty/staff across 30 states.
“With 99 percent of smokers starting before age 27, college campuses are critical platforms for preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding those current tobacco users in quitting and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative. “We are looking forward to supporting CR’s efforts to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past,” she added.
Today, 40 million Americans still smoke – including over 3 million in California, and tobacco use remains the number-one cause of preventable death in this country. Research also shows that there are dire health consequences for non-smokers too. Secondhand smoke exposure causes cancer and cardiovascular disease among other secondhand smoke diseases, and is responsible for more than 41,000 deaths among non-smoking adults in the U.S.
Community colleges in the U.S. serve almost half -45 percent- of the undergraduate student population. With an enrollment of more than 12 million, community colleges serve as an entryway to higher education for many students of color, low-income and first generation college degree earners.
“The grant from the Truth Initiative has set us up for success and I’m positive we can achieve our goals” said President of the Board of Trustees, Sally Biggin. “These funds will help us move forward quickly to ensure everyone can breathe fresh air at our college’s locations.”