COLUMBUS, OH, July 23, 2012 – The Ohio Board of Regents today voted unanimously to approve a resolution presented by Regents’ Chairman James Tuschman recommending that each board of trustees of the University System of Ohio consider implementing its own policy to establish its campus as tobacco-free.
"It's the right thing to do," Tuschman said. “Statistics prove that a tobacco-free campus significantly curbs the smoking habits of students, faculty and staff to make campuses healthier environments.”
Each university’s or college’s board of trustees will decide whether to ban tobacco on campus. The resolution, which was initially discussed following a presentation by Dr. Toby Cosgrove, chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic at the May meeting of the Ohio Board of Regents, is supported by Chancellor Jim Petro.
“I began smoking in college and continued to smoke for 40 years. It has adversely affected my health,” said Petro who was diagnosed in 2009 with laryngeal cancer that could have been caused by smoking. He is cancer-free now. “By approving this resolution and recommending that policies be implemented on our campuses, the Board of Regents can have a significant and positive effect on a student’s life. “
According to the American Cancer Society, there were 10,270 new cases of lung cancer in Ohio in 2012 with 7,530 cases resulting in death. The annual national health care expenditure, both public and private, caused by smoking is $96 billion, with secondhand smoke exposure leading to $4.98 billion in healthcare costs. Healthcare costs are 40 percent higher for smokers than non-smokers.
The college years are a time when many students begin smoking and are therefore a primary concern for healthcare organizations. According to the Ohio Department of Health, almost 40 percent of college-aged smokers either began smoking or become a regular smoker after starting college.
“College students begin smoking because of stress, drinking, social pressures, and to control their weight,” said Tuschman referencing Dr. Cosgrove who says that 37 percent of college students who smoke, begin after they enroll. “If we as the University System of Ohio can help deter students, faculty, and staff from smoking, then maybe we can create a healthier environment for learning.”
At least seven Ohio campuses have enacted policies banning the sale of cigarettes and smoking anywhere on campus including Miami University, Hocking College, and the Health Sciences Campus at the University of Toledo.
Ohio currently has a statewide smoking ban that does not permit smoking in any public place or workplace. Ohio citizens approved the ballot issue in November of 2006, with 2.2 million voters supporting the ban.
The resolution will now be sent to each board of trustees for consideration.
About the Board of Regents
The Ohio Board of Regents is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor, with the advice of the nine-member Board of Regents, provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy.
Ohio Board of Regents Contact: