An Open Letter to College and University Administrators

Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by coronavirus, and we applaud college and university administrators and leaders for taking the necessary steps to protect their campus communities. The coronavirus (COVID-19) reminds us that health prevention policies matter greatly, and as colleges look ahead to resuming on-campus instruction and operations, we know you will want to welcome students, faculty, staff, and visitors to a healthy campus environment.

Just as social distancing and hand washing help prevent the spread of disease, eliminating secondhand smoke exposure is critical to reducing risk factors that make individuals vulnerable to the virus. The coronavirus attacks the lungs, and behaviors that weaken the lungs and respiratory functions put individuals at greater risk. Now is a great time to continue moving forward with the process of adopting and implementing a strong 100% smokefree campus policy. Nearly 2,500 U.S. campus sites are a 100% smokefree campus.  Of these, 2,065 are also 100% tobacco-free and prohibit the use of all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, on campus at all times.

Now is the time to reopen as a smokefree or, better yet, a tobacco-free campus.

These policies not only protect public health, but they role model healthy, tobacco-free living.  These policies also help prevent the initiation of smoking or vaping, which have numerous negative health effects, including compromising the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.  Secondhand smoke is also a lung health hazard for smokers and nonsmokers; compromised lungs are more susceptible to the coronavirus.

If your campus is preparing to implement a policy, our tips can help you transition to a smokefree campus. If your campus is in the process of considering adopting a stronger policy, please visit this page to learn more and reach out to the ANR Foundation for support and assistance.

We know these are challenging times, and your efforts to protect everyone on your campus demonstrate that we are all in this together. Like you, we believe that no one should have to risk their health for an education or a job. Along with your Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative coalition, we are here to help ensure a seamless transition to a tobacco-free environment.