Op-Ed: Colonials for clean air

At least 826 colleges or universities in the U.S. have adopted 100 percent smoke-free policies to eliminate smoking in indoor and outdoor areas across campuses since October. While GW administrators are moving toward a smoke free environment by September 2013, we recognize this change does not come without adjustment.

A smoke-free campus is not meant to force anyone to quit smoking. It is meant to promote a healthy environment for the community. Although there are no statistics available specifically for GW, the majority of the U.S population, including college students, do not smoke. College students perceive that tobacco use is much more prevalent than it actually is.

A 2010 American College Health Association report found that out of 30,093 students surveyed at 39 colleges, only 4.4 percent had smoked within a 30-day time frame of the study.

Many college students who smoke are trying to quit. Studies have found that 20 percent of college smokers have tried to quit as many as five or more times in the last year. It is well-known there is no safe exposure to cigarette smoke, even if it’s secondhand smoke.

We recognize that GW has a diverse student body with different attitudes and beliefs. But we also recognize the health hazard of secondhand smoke.

The GW community should unite in this discussion to support a culture of health and make a time of transition into a time of growth.

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