St. Paul, Minn. – On January 1, 2015, Macalester College will become a tobacco-free campus, joining 975 campuses nationwide and 50 campuses in Minnesota who have also made that commitment.

The goal of a tobacco-free campus is to improve the health outcomes for all students, faculty, and staff, including those who live and work near smokers and chewers.

“This is an important step for the health and well-being of our entire Macalester community,” said President Brian Rosenberg.  “We’re pleased to be joining the other 50 Minnesota campuses in this significant endeavor.”

Macalester has been addressing tobacco use on campus since the passage of the Minnesota Clean Air act in 1975.  The college adopted the first significant policy change in 1994, prohibiting smoking in designated buildings.  In 2008, the smoke-free policy was expanded to include residence halls.

By 2010, A Tobacco Use on Campus Task Force, made up of faculty, staff, and student smokers, non-smokers, and former smokers engaged with the entire Macalester community and after considering a variety of perspectives including personal health, environmental health, and social justice, recommended that Macalester become a fully tobacco-free campus by September 2013, beginning with restricting smoking on campus within 25 feet of windows, doors and ventilation systems. 

Nationally and locally, policies and smoker’s personal habits continued to change. In November 2011, The American College Health Association recommended that colleges and universities adopt policies that support a 100% indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also recommended that electronic cigarettes be included as part of the tobacco-free environment.

Today, Macalester students are smoking less.  The 30-day prevalence (within the last 30 days) dropped from 29% in 2005 to 10% in 2013 and daily use from 5% in 2008 to 1% in 2013. 

The number of universities and colleges adopting tobacco-free policies continues to increase.  Nationwide, as of October 1, 2014, there are at least 1,477 100% smoke free campuses. Of these, 975 are 100% tobacco-free, and 291 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes anywhere on campus.  In Minnesota, 50 campuses have tobacco-free policies in place.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,045 students.  Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement.  Learn more at macalester.edu.

November 20 2014

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