The Board of Trustees voted this week to support a “Tobacco-Free SUNY” policy and seek New York State legislation that bans the use of tobacco on SUNY grounds and facilities. SUNY is now the largest public university system in the United States to adopt a policy of this magnitude against tobacco use.
The policy, which is aimed to be implemented by the end of 2013, needs to be passed as a State law in order for it to take full effect. University at Buffalo, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Canton and Upstate Medical Univeristy already have a tobacco restriction on campus; UAlbany and others have designated non-smoking areas.
The historic adoption by the Board of Trustees may be the final step in the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Tobacco-Free SUNY. While the Board is looking to improve overall wellbeing of its students, the move is not to simply take the butts out of students’ and staffs’ mouths; it is also to grow the SUNY body image and lessen the risk of accidental fires.
“SUNY has a responsibility to promote the health of our students, faculty, staff and visitors while they are on our campuses,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “I commend the Board for making the health of these groups a priority.”
Chairman of the Board H. Carl McCall added, “By establishing a policy that will prohibit the use of tobacco among our 468,000 students and 88,000 employees on campuses across New York, we will have a positive impact on their health and that of our visitors.”
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.