Approximately 13 percent of young adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18-24 smoke and as documented by the 2016 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, almost no one starts smoking after age 25. Tobacco use peaks from 18-25 years of age. 99% of cigarette smokers begin by the age of 25. College attendance and tobacco free campus policies could be a turning point in choosing not to use tobacco.
Smoke-free campuses help reduce the social acceptability of tobacco use. A tobacco free campus policy protects students, faculty, and staff from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke. Nicotine use affects concentration, decision-making and learning. Tobacco companies spend $8.4 billion a year on advertising and promoting tobacco in convenience stores, many of which are located near college campuses and frequented by students. These companies also offer discounts and advertise in digital media as they rely on young adults as replacement tobacco users. Tobacco companies need to recruit young people to stay in business.
College and university campuses offer unique opportunities for promoting social norms that support healthy living and lifestyle choices. Institutions of higher learning around the country are increasingly adopting new policies that reinforce their longstanding commitments to student health.
As of January 2, 2017, there were 1,757 smoke-free campuses of which1,468 were fully tobacco free. 62 college and university campuses across Florida are smoke-free. We expect this number to continue to climb rapidly as a result of the growing social norm supporting smoke-free environments, and support from within the academic community for such policies for campus health and well-being.
Tobacco Free St. Johns is a community-wide partnership working to eliminate tobacco use and its impact on our community. We strive to create a healthier environment for residents and visitors. The partnership is open to the public. For more information go to www.tobaccofreestjohns.com or follow us on Facebook.