The Million Hearts High Blood Pressure Collaborative Steering Committee recently hosted a celebration of Monroe County colleges and universities that have adopted tobacco-free policies or are moving in that direction at Rochester Institute of Technology.
The event was held in partnership with Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Health Care Initiative, Smoking and Health Action Coalition of Monroe County and the American Heart Association.
The celebration was inspired by National High Blood Pressure Education Month, National Clean Air Month and World No Tobacco Day.
RIT President Bill Destler delivered remarks along with other college presidents and representatives.
“RIT is committed to facilitating a healthy working, learning and living environment,” Destler said. “To prevent harm to members of the RIT community and to be consistent with university wellness initiatives, smoking and use of tobacco products are restricted to designated tobacco areas on all university-managed properties. This policy brings the university in line with more than 1,500 colleges and universities in the U.S. that are tobacco-restricted or have banned tobacco use on campus entirely.”
“Roberts Wesleyan College is proud to partner with the American Heart Association and Rochester area colleges in promoting tobacco-free campuses,” President Deana Porterfield said. “Roberts Wesleyan has been a tobacco-free campus since our founding in 1866. This policy supports our campus health and well-being by protecting students, faculty, staff and visitors. It is vitally important, and part of our Christian mission, to provide learning and living spaces that are a clean, healthy environment for everyone on our campus.”
“MCC has been tobacco-free since 2015,” said Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College. “The reason behind our effort was simple — to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for employees, students and visitors. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and a host of other conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. Despite these risks, numerous studies show tobacco use remains a serious public health issue, particularly for young people. We could not claim to care about our students and ignore the opportunity to help ensure their future personal and professional success.”
“The College at Brockport has proudly been a smoke-free campus since August 2011, and we applaud the efforts of those willing to stand up and be heard,” President Heidi Macpherson said.
“As a campus that models health and wellness, we are advocating a healthy, safe and clean environment for our students, visitors and for the Nazareth community,” Daan Braveman, president of Nazareth College. “This policy will help us achieve that goal.”
“As a research university with a large academic medical center, the University of Rochester is committed to creating an environment that promotes health for its students, staff and visitors,” said Ralph Manchester, director of the UR Department of University Health Services. “Studies show that tobacco-free policies result in lower smoking rates and less exposure to secondhand smoke. These two outcomes are perfect examples of the university’s motto, which is Meliora — ‘ever better’.”
St. John Fisher College’s Student Government Association recently proposed a move toward a more smoke-free campus after a survey that included 350 students. Of those who took the survey, majority indicated that they would be in favor of a more smoke-free campus. SJFC created a campus Smoke-Free Task Force to lead the discussion by soliciting additional feedback from its campus community regarding the existing policies in place and about how the college might become a more smoke-free campus.