Local academy joins colleges in taking stand against tobacco
Theresa Cross, Public Health
Vancouver, WA – On Wednesday, the International Air and Hospitality Academy will take the Fresh Air Campus Challenge’s 1Day Stand against tobacco.
The academy joins 21 Pacific Northwest campuses adopting a tobacco-free policy for a day to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke.
“We want to encourage life-long healthy habits and ensure a safe, healthy environment for everyone on campus,” said Ed Bedecarrax, director of education. “That’s why we are taking this stand, and supporting those looking to quit.”
The academy and its affiliated campuses for the Railroad Institute, Renewable Energy Institute and Culinary Institute prohibit staff from smoking on campus.
On Wednesday, with support from Clark County Public Health, the designated student smoking area on the main campus will be decommissioned. Ashtrays will be removed, and information promoting the 1Day Stand will be posted.
A study done this month found 55 percent of students want a tobacco-free campus.
“Students understand the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but quitting tobacco is hard,” said Theresa Cross, health educator with Clark County Public Health. “If you know someone who is looking to quit, support them today and through the process.”
Studies show that 99 percent of regular tobacco users start by age 26. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in United States, and secondhand smoke kills an estimated 49,400 people each year nationwide.
“Smoke-free policies are an effective way to reduce tobacco use by preventing people from starting to smoke and making it easier for smokers to quit,” said Cross.
To date, 66 campuses in the Pacific Northwest – including Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College – have tobacco-free policies. The Fresh Air Campus Challenge aims to get all college campuses in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to go smoke- or tobacco-free by 2016.