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Chestnut Hill College Embraces New Tobacco-Free Policy

Chestnut Hill College Embraces New Tobacco-Free Policy

Chestnut Hill College is now a tobacco-free campus, which is something that offers immense benefits to students, faculty, staff and visitors alike.

The College officially implemented its Tobacco-Free Campus Policy on Aug. 15. The use of lighted and nonlighted tobacco, as well as electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, is now prohibited within the campus boundaries; this includes all buildings, parking lots, walkways, sidewalks, athletic facilities and both private and College-owned vehicles, parked or operating, on the property.

The policy applies to everyone who lives or steps foot on campus, ranging from students to contractors. Those who plan on using tobacco products are required to leave the campus to do so, and whoever violates the policy will first receive a warning and then will be fined for subsequent offenses; guests who violate the policy repeatedly and intentionally may be asked to leave campus. The College will use the money accrued from the fines to benefit its health and wellness programming.

Krista Bailey Murphy, Ph.D., dean of student life, said adopting the policy adheres to the mission and values of Chestnut Hill College.

“Chestnut Hill College is excited to join a growing number of campuses locally and nationally that are going tobacco-free,” Murphy said. “Not only does this change supports a healthy environment for members of our campus community, but it also keeps with the College’s commitment to caring for the earth.”

The College is one of several local schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, to adopt similar policies prohibiting smoking and tobacco use. Currently, there are close to 2,000 colleges in the United States with tobacco-free policies.

The policy is expected to produce an array of benefits for the students, environment and economy.

For one, it will improve the health of students in the present and future through prevention and education. Truthinitiative.org, the largest nonprofit public health organization devoted to “making tobacco use a thing of the past,” estimates that 99 percent of smokers begin before the age of 26.

Moreover, if students don’t begin smoking today, they will have a greater chance of getting a job over those that do. According to truthinitiative.org, “The chances of getting a job within a year are reduced by 24 percent for unemployed job seekers who smoke when compared with nonsmokers — even when other factors like substance abuse and criminal history are considered.”

Another benefit, which is twofold, pertains to the environment and the economy. For instance, an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered each year across the globe, which amounts to about 1.69 billion pounds of annual waste. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes are poisonous, and they can harm or kill fish and other wildlife. It costs a city every year between $3 and $16 million to clear and dispose of cigarettes.

If you are looking for resources to help quit using tobacco products, please contact Human Resources and Student Health Services. For local resources, visit smokefree.gov or www.smokefreephilly.org.

You can read Chestnut Hill College’s complete Tobacco-Free Campus Policy here. You can also visit Truth Initiative for more on the benefits of colleges and universities choosing to go tobacco-free.

- Kevin Dicciani

Posted In: Around Campus