Approximately 1,500 college campuses are smoke-free, and UVM
should join them, said Dr. Jan Carney
, cochair of the UVM Tobacco-Free Steering
Committee, which is pushing for the ban.
She ticks off her reasons: There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the U.S. surgeon general; cigarette butts are an environmental problem; and the ban, she believes, will help reduce smoking rates.
Studies since 2000 indicate such restrictions can help make nonsmoking the social norm, said Carney, associate dean for public health at UVM College of Medicine and a former Vermont health commissioner.
As a result, some people quit and others never start, Carney
Roughly a quarter of student smokers at UVM start when they come to the school, according to a survey cited by Carney
said other colleges have found it takes two to three years to successfully roll out a ban, and UVM wants to take the time to do it right.
"You just don't flip the switch," Carney
said, noting that the university has been working up to zero tolerance for tobacco with surveys, forums and quit programs targeting students and employees.
But a total of 15 people attended four town-hall-style meetings on the proposed ban, said Carney
Most asked basic questions about the proposal and there was no real debate, she
The low turnout contributed to the decision to delay implementation of the ban to "ensure that we really had made our best effort to have a campus-wide process," Carney