New York has 67 smoke-free or tobacco-free college campuses, more than any other state in the country, and 29 more colleges in the state are working to adopt such policies, the American Cancer Society announced in a recent report.
Forty-seven percent of New York colleges enforce bans on smoking or tobacco products altogether or plan to soon implement campus-wide bans, the report from last month said. There has been a thirty-fold increase in the number of New York campuses implementing smoke-free policies since 2005.
New York City’s public colleges have already gone tobacco-free, and the 64-campus State University of New York is seeking to ban smoking but needs legislative approval.
“New York has always been at the cutting edge on a lot of these issues,” said Blair Horner, vice president for advocacy for the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey. “The importance to us is to make sure that the people that go to college in New York state are not exposed to a known human carcinogen.”
As of January, 608 campuses nationwide had banned tobacco, and another 217 had banned smoking, the report said. Three states have passed laws mandating campuses be smoke-free, including Iowa, whose law also applies to private colleges, the report said.
Though some SUNY campuses have already banned smoking, the system would need a state law to implement such a sweeping change.
The SUNY Board of Trustees urged the Legislature in a June 2012 resolution to pass a law mandating that campuses adopt smoke-free policies by January 2014. But the bill has not yet been introduced, SUNY spokesman David Doyle said.
“We are in the process of trying to identify support of the legislation to get the law passed,” Doyle said. “We’re optimistic that we can get something done this legislative session.”
The session extends through June 20.
Read our full story here.
Watch our full interview with Horner:
And here’s the report: