In 2008, Brunswick Community College Faculty Senate recommended the creation of a tobacco-free campus in a formal request to the President. Now, after seven years of discussion, research, recommendations, public comment and revisions, Brunswick Community College is preparing to become a tobacco-free campus on July 1, 2017. In implementing this policy, BCC joins over 38 community colleges in North Carolina that are smoke-free, tobacco-free or both. We also join Novant Health, Dosher Memorial Hospital as well as public school properties in prohibiting the use of tobacco products.
The adoption of this policy is an important step in addressing the serious health and environmental issues associated with tobacco use. According to tobaccofreecampus.org:
- There are more than 480,000 deaths each year in the US caused by cigarette use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- More than 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking.
- Of the more than 172 toxic substances tobacco smoke contains, 3 are regulated outdoor air pollutants, 33 are hazardous air pollutants, 47 are chemicals restricted as hazardous waste and 67 are known human or animal carcinogens.
- Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the country. Smoking kills more Americans than alcohol, car crashes, AIDS-related causes, fires, heroin, cocaine, homicide and suicide combined.
The new tobacco-free policy represents extensive due diligence by the Tobacco Usage Committee. The Committee consists of faculty, staff, and administration with significant levels of constituent involvement from the campus. This committee has met regularly, holding discussions with our campus governance bodies, hosting open forums, conducting surveys, and soliciting public comment on the draft policy via email. In addition, the Committee has been in regular communication with local and national resources with respect to tobacco-free initiatives across the country in an effort to identify best practices, including smoking cessation programs.
We recognize that the successful implementation of this policy will take time. Policy compliance will include education, communication, and collaboration with campus constituencies. As has been the case on many other campuses, peer support, supervisory oversight, and voluntary compliance will lead ultimately to behavioral and cultural change over time. Mutually respectful interaction among members of our community will be a key to success.
Most important, the College will support and assist those who wish to stop using tobacco by providing access to effective smoking cessation programs with free or discounted costs and ongoing, long-term support. To learn more, go to www.brunswickcc.edu/tobacco-free.
By joining 1,475 other colleges and universities in this initiative, we reinforce our commitment to preparing students for the workforce while creating and maintaining a healthy, clean campus for all who learn, work, and visit Brunswick Community College.