Wenatchee Valley College tobacco-free policy effective June 17
Wenatchee Valley College has implemented a tobacco-free policy on both the Wenatchee and Omak campuses effective June 17. The policy was adopted by the college in order to promote a healthy environment for all who visit the campuses.
The tobacco ban will apply to all students, staff, vendors and visitors. No tobacco use of any kind will be permitted inside college buildings and in parking lots or on college grounds.
WVC is part of the Fresh Air Campus Challenge, an effort to encourage all college campuses in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to adopt a 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policy by 2016. More than 37 college campuses throughout the Pacific Northwest have already gone smoke- or tobacco-free, including six Washington state community and technical colleges. Nationally, nearly 17 percent of all higher-education institutions have a smoke- or tobacco-free policy.
The Challenge brings together local, state and federal tobacco control programs in a unique partnership with college campuses to begin the process of policy adoption. WVC conducted a campus survey, which determined that a majority of students and staff support a tobacco-free campus. The college worked to develop the policy over an 18-month period. The college has a comprehensive website with links to the policy, smoking cessation resources and many other resources, http://commons.wvc.edu/hr/pp/SitePages/Tobacco%20Free%20Campus.aspx.
Initiation of smoking is at its highest during the college years—99 percent of all regular smokers start by the time they are 26 years old. Smoke-free policies have been shown to effectively reduce tobacco use by helping prevent initiation and making it easier for smokers to quit.
According to the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in our nation. Secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 49,400 lung cancer and heart disease deaths among non-smoking adults in the U.S. each year.