Why is Jamestown Community College becoming a tobacco-free community?
Jamestown Community College joined the growing list of colleges and universities across the U.S. which have adopted a tobacco-free campus policy. Jamestown Community College is dedicated to providing a safe, healthy, comfortable, and productive living and learning environment for the entire campus community.
JCC recognizes the overwhelming scientific evidence assembled by the U.S. Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, and World Health Organization, which demonstrates that tobacco is a profound agent of deadly diseases, responsible for millions of deaths worldwide each year, both to tobacco users and non-users. Additional studies have indicated that exposure to second-hand smoke is a significant risk for everyone. All forms of tobacco are now known to be harmful and highly addictive.
JCC cares deeply about the health of and respects the rights of all its members, and as an employer and an institution of higher education, the college is committed to providing a safe working, living, and educational environment.
When will Jamestown Community College become tobacco-free?
Jamestown Community College became a tobacco-free community on August 1, 2014, at which time signage near smoking areas were changed to indicate the campus is tobacco-free. Tobacco use in all areas of the college, including inside of campus-owned vehicles, is prohibited.
Are other colleges tobacco-free?
Across the United States, an ever increasing number of colleges and universities are instituting tobacco-free policies. As of January 2, 2014, at least 1,182 colleges and universities had enacted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies for their entire campuses (indoors and out); about another 80 had enacted policies that include minor exemptions for remote outdoor areas. Other colleges and universities have not encountered significant problems enforcing tobacco-free policies. The link below will provide a list of tobacco-free colleges and universities.
It is expected that all SUNY campuses will become tobacco-free in the near future, based on Chancellor Zimpher’s recommendation and approved by the SUNY board of trustees, to adopt a system-wide ban on the use of tobacco products on SUNY campuses. However, that action requires additional approval by the New York State Legislature before taking effect.
Who does the tobacco free policy apply to?
The tobacco-free policy applies to all college staff, faculty, students, visitors, and vendors and is driven by respect for others and the environment.
What types of tobacco are included in this policy?
“Tobacco” is defined as all tobacco and tobacco-derived products intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: cigarettes, cigars, hookah-smoked products, clove and electronic cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, smokeless tobacco, and snus. This definition does not include any product that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale as a tobacco use cessation product.
Why is smokeless tobacco included in the ban?
Establishing a comprehensive policy that includes all forms of tobacco has better health outcomes, is more equitable, and easier to enforce. The policy consistently addresses health issues because there is no safe form of tobacco. Chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and snuff contain cancer causing agents that can lead to hypertension. In addition, smokeless tobacco use often creates unwanted and sometimes hazardous waste and byproducts that can be spilled both outdoors and indoors. These spills create more cleanup work for college custodial staff and harm the environment.
A tobacco-free policy sends a consistent health message by not implying that one form of tobacco is safe. There are no safe forms or levels of tobacco use. The policy promotes and protects the health of all college members, users and non-users alike, as well as promoting a culture of respect.
Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer causing agents, and the amount of nicotine absorbed from spit tobacco is three to four times the amount delivered by cigarettes.
Smokeless tobacco can lead to oral cancers, gum disease, and increased nicotine addiction (U.S. Surgeon General). Snuff and snus have been found to increase the risk of cancer, stroke, and fatal cardiovascular disease (The International Agency for Research on Cancer).
While marketing of cigarettes is on the decline, marketing of smokeless products has risen 400% in the last 20 years (FTC). Marketing of smokeless tobacco products target youth by associating the product with sports and adventure activities, implying that use is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Tobacco-free policies are now a national standard for college campuses, advocated by major health agencies.
Are e-cigarettes included?
Yes, the policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and any nicotine delivery device that has not been approved by the FDA for cessation (the FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product” under the Tobacco Control Act). National health agencies remain skeptical of the safety of these devices due to a lack of scientific data. Until FDA approval is granted, these will not be allowed on campus, which is consistent with national standards and guidelines.
Will there be designated smoking areas on campus?
No. The use of tobacco is prohibited on all college grounds. Smoking zones and perimeter policies have not been found to be effective (or enforceable) and smoking shelters are expensive to construct and maintain. Colleges with full tobacco-free policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than policies that include smoking areas.
What about athletic games, concerts, or other public events?
All events occurring on college property are covered by the tobacco-free policy. Signage and electronic and printed notices will be provided to visitors at games and events to make sure everyone is clearly informed about the policy.
Does the policy apply to residence halls?
Yes, the policy applies to all areas of the college, including residence halls.
Do staff, faculty, students, and visitors have to quit using tobacco?
No. We are not saying you must quit using tobacco. But we are saying you cannot use tobacco while you are on college property. If you are ready to quit, we want to support your efforts.
Am I in violation of the policy if I possess tobacco products?
No, the policy governs use of tobacco products, not possession of tobacco products.
Does the policy prohibit me from bringing cigarettes or other tobacco products to a college facility?
No. Only the actual or apparent use (e.g. ‘smoking’ an unlit cigarette) of such products on campus is prohibited.
Isn't this a violation of my civil rights?
No, a tobacco-free policy is not a violation of an individual's civil rights. There is no state or federal law that provides a "right" to smoke or use tobacco. In addition, the college has the authority to govern and regulate the use of its facilities and properties.
Don’t I have a right to smoke on campus?
No. There is no “right” to use tobacco under either state or federal law. Additionally, court rulings maintain that smokers do not have the legal right to expose others to secondhand smoke, a Class A carcinogen, and they are not entitled to protection against discrimination as “addicts” or as “disabled persons.”
Establishing a tobacco-free college preserves everyone's right to breathe smoke-free air in a cleaner environment, while allowing adults who choose to use tobacco to continue to do so off-campus. JCC’s policy is based upon respect for others and for the environment, and supports the rights and privileges of both tobacco users and non-users alike.
Isn’t it my right to use tobacco?
Tobacco use is a legal product for adults. However, the college owns campus property and can establish policies that protect the health of all college members. A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; the policy merely establishes where use can occur.
You say the reason for the policy is respect for others but you aren't respecting smokers. How is that right?
JCC aims to balance the rights of the person using tobacco with the rights of the person who doesn't want to be exposed to the effects of tobacco use. We have carefully considered the issues, including the impact on health and our environment. When you consider tobacco users are outnumbered by non-users by around four to one, the history of many tobacco users discarding their tobacco litter indiscriminately, the college’s strong desire to help staff, faculty, and students interested in quitting their tobacco use, the message we are sending about the negative impact of tobacco use to all who come to JCC, the justification for the policy is clear. Our objective is to have policies that create the best work and learning environment possible. Tobacco use desecrates the environment and harms people. It is completely consistent with our mission to eliminate tobacco use from our property, but we will do so with respect for everyone, including tobacco users.
Education and Cessation Resources
How can I quit (or help someone I know quit)?
Tobacco-free policies have been shown to encourage people to quit. These policies also support those who are trying to quit. The New York Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800.784.8669) provides individual coaching and free or low cost cessation support, including nicotine replacement therapies and prescription drugs. Campus and community cessation support programs are also available.
How to Help
What should I do if I see someone using tobacco on campus?
The policy will be enforced best by everyone taking an active role in informing people that a tobacco-free policy is in effect. A majority of JCC students, staff, and faculty support a tobacco-free environment, so it is appropriate for you to speak up.
Members of the college community who see individuals using tobacco on college grounds are asked to inform these individuals politely that college policy prohibits tobacco use anywhere on college grounds. Faculty and staff who do not feel comfortable approaching someone violating the policy should contact their immediate supervisor or department head. Students should contact the student development office, the human resources office, or health center. We expect all members of the JCC community to treat each other with dignity and respect, support each other, and embrace a spirit of having a healthy and respectful living, learning, and working environment.
If you notice an area where people are consistently violating the policy, you can report this to the human resources office at 716.338.1035.
How should I respond if someone gets angry or aggressive?
Do not continue to speak to anyone who becomes angry or confrontational. Simply walk away.
What should I say to someone I see violating the policy?
If you see someone violating the policy, pre-printed handout cards are available for distribution. The cards offer additional information on the policy and are available in the human resources office or the health center.
The following are suggested ways you can address someone you see violating the policy. These scripts are intended to help Jamestown Community College community members become more comfortable discussing the tobacco-free environment policy with other staff, students, faculty, and visitors in a respectful and supportive manner.
Key points to remember:
- Be empathetic. The three to five minutes you spend with a person struggling with their need for tobacco could help their craving dissipate.
- Use common sense in every situation.
- Remember that the encounter should be supportive, not punitive.
- Share information about the college policy in a non-judgmental way.
- The policy is designed to create a healthier environment for everyone who comes to JCC.
- Always focus on the behavior/object, not the person. For example, it is the secondhand smoke exposure, not the smoker. It is the litter, not the smoker.
- No one is telling or expecting an individual to quit tobacco. The college is just asking those who use tobacco to be respectful when using tobacco products by refraining from using tobacco while on college property.
- Addressing this issue will only be effective if everyone addresses instances of tobacco use on college property.
- The tobacco-free policy is no more or no less important than any other policy on campus- address it as would any other policy violation.
Try to stick to the suggested script: this will allow for greater consistency and help to reduce escalation of the situation.
Example Script #1:
Situation: You see a person using tobacco products on college property.
Response: "Hello, my name is _______, and I am an (employee, student) here at Jamestown Community College. Are you aware that we are now a tobacco-free campus, meaning that tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, are prohibited on our grounds? Please respect our policy to not use tobacco products while visiting our campus. We have free resources on campus to help you quit tobacco if you are ready. Visit JCC’s website at www.sunyjcc.edu for more information. I appreciate your help in keeping our campus tobacco-free."
Example Script #1b:
"JCC is a tobacco-free environment, we appreciate your support in following this policy." and/ or hand them the same statement which is available on a pre-printed card (cards are available through the human resources office or health center). Also state, "Please don't forget to use the ash dispensers located around the perimeter of college grounds to ensure all waste is disposed of properly." Direct them to the nearest ash dispenser if necessary. Say ''thank you" and leave.
If the person refuses to discard the tobacco product, you may ask for identification according to college policy and report them to the student development office, their supervisor, or the human resources office. If it is a community member who becomes hostile, walk away and contact the human resources office at 716.338.1035.
Example Script #2:
Question: "Where am I allowed to smoke?"
Response: "JCC became a tobacco-free campus on August 1, 2014. This is a new policy, meant to promote better health in our students, faculty, and staff. If you need to smoke or use tobacco products you will need to leave college property. If you are interested in quitting smoking, you can call the NY State Smokers' Quitline.”
Example Script #3:
For vendors and visitors: "I'd like to let you know in advance that all of JCC’s college property is tobacco-free. Use of tobacco products are not permitted on any property, grounds, or parking areas. Thank you for respecting our policy."
Who should I talk to about questions or concerns that I have about the tobacco-free policy?
Your opinion and feedback are important to us and we want to help you understand the policy and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact the human resources office at 716.338.1035 or the health center at 716.338.1013.