By Sept. 1, Bainbridge State College will take up its ash trays and become a tobacco-free campus in accordance with the Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus Policy passed by the Board of Regents in March of this year.
The policy bans all forms of tobacco on all universities and colleges in the University System of Georgia (USG), which include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any smoking device, such as hookahs and electronic cigarettes. All employees, students, contractors, subcontractors and visitors must comply with the policy.
In addition, all events hosted by a USG-entity or on behalf of the USG will be tobacco and smoke-free, according to the policy.
“This policy follows what other USG institutions are already doing,” said BSC President Dr. Richard Carvajal. “We understand that quitting can be difficult, but the evidence is also clear that the health benefits of doing so are dramatic.”
According to Henry M. Huckaby, USG Chancellor, the USG joins over 1,000 other colleges and universities that have already implemented Tobacco and/or Smoke-Free Policies.
However, the USG is not the first government entity in Georgia to ban smoking. In 2005, Georgia passed the Smoke-free Air Act, banning smoking statewide in most workplaces.
According the a 2014 report from the Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health and Safety Howard Koh stated, “Cigarette smoking remains the chief preventable killer in America, with more than 40 million Americans caught in a web of tobacco dependence.”
The goal of the policy is to protect and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying USG campuses.
In 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) reported tobacco was the leading cause of preventable and premature death, killing an estimated 443,000 Americans each year. And according to the Georgia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2011, Georgia reported about 10,000 adults, aged 35 years and older; die every year from tobacco-related illnesses.
For more information of the nationwide smoke-free campus initiative, visit www.tobaccofreecampus.org and for complete details on this policy, visit www.usg.edu/tobaccofree. Resources for anyone who uses tobacco products and wants to quit can be found at www.dph.georgia.gov/georgia-tobacco-quit-line or by calling the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line a 1-877-270-STOP.