In an effort to reduce smoking among college students, SUNY Cortland will partner with the Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) through the Colleges for Change (C4C) program aimed at limiting where and how tobacco products are used, promoted, advertised and sold. The program also advances local action to prevent and reduce tobacco use.
Administered by the OCHD and funded by New York State, C4C was developed in response to national data showing that 18-25 year olds have the highest rates of tobacco use. Since the 1998 passage of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between the largest tobacco companies and the attorneys general of 46 states, the 18-25 year-olds also have formed the youngest legal market for the tobacco industry to target.
"The program will work to establish relationships with members of the Cortland community," said Cathy Smith, a health educator at SUNY Cortland. "First we will establish a Tobacco Advisory Committee and a Student Advocacy Group. Our first efforts will be to evaluate the campus community to better understand student, employee, administrator and community member attitudes regarding the adoption of tobacco-free policies," said Smith. "We will talk to student organizations, off-campus housing, community businesses, and the College campus."
"Moving toward a smoke-free campus will allow SUNY Cortland to be compliant with the American College Health Association's most recent guideline regarding tobacco use which recommends that college campuses be 'diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100 percent indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment,'" added Devin Coppola, M.D., the SUNY Cortland campus physician.
Commissioner of Health for Onondaga County Cynthia Morrow, M.D., views the SUNY Cortland and OCHD cooperative effort as an exciting opportunity for strengthening tobacco control on the campus and in the community.
"The partnership is an excellent way to actively engage college-age adults to address young adult tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke," she noted.
C4C directs numerous evidenced-based initiatives focusing on changing social norms around tobacco use in the college campus environment. These include: