The American Cancer Society will honor SUNY Cortland for its decision to become a tobacco-free campus during a Wednesday, Nov. 16, campus event aimed at persuading students to participate in the annual Great American Smokeout.
Students will be encouraged to sign tobacco-free pledges and will be given “quit kits” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Corey Union during the event, scheduled for the day before the 36th annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 17. The national “Smokeout” was created by the American Cancer Society to give tobacco users a target date to quit or to make a plan to quit.
On Jan. 1, 2013, SUNY Cortland will become a tobacco-free campus. The Nov. 16 event, during which educational material will be provided, is one of many efforts that will be made to raise SUNY Cortland students’ awareness of the health threat posed by tobacco and to help students, faculty and staff who smoke or chew tobacco to quit.
“This is a big deal for us, and we want to recognize the great progress made by SUNY Cortland toward becoming completely tobacco free,” said Sue Moranda, community mission manager for the American Cancer Society. “The College is supporting a culture of wellness and genuine respect for the well-being of the whole campus community.”
Representatives of the cancer society and Tobacco Free Cortland will present a plaque to SUNY Cortland officials recognizing them as “Partners in Excellence,” Moranda said. The presentation will be at 11:15 a.m. Only two other State University of New York Campuses, Buffalo State College and SUNY Canton, have announced plans to ban all tobacco use on campus.
The pledge signing and other tobacco-related activities at Corey Union Nov. 16 will be sponsored by students with the SUNY Cortland chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) and the College’s Tobacco Advisory Committee. The “quit kits” and other educational and promotional materials are being supplied to CAC by Target Corporation, the national retail chain.
As part of SUNY Cortland’s ongoing effort to become one of the healthiest higher education institutions in the United States, President Erik J. Bitterbaum and his cabinet this summer approved a proposal to transform the College into a tobacco-free community.
Tobacco use accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer, and lung cancer is the most common — and most preventable — type of cancer for both men and women.
Of the 15 million college students in the United States today, it is estimated that 1.7 million will die of smoking-related illnesses, most prematurely, according to the American Cancer Society. That amounts to more than 10 percent of current college students.