Quinnipiac to be a tobacco-free school in 2019, according to President Olian

On November 15, 2018, President Judy Olian announced that Quinnipiac will become a tobacco-free university starting on Jan. 1, 2019. In an email sent to students, Olian said that tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, will be banned.

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Both the Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses are following suit after the North Haven campus, which became tobacco free in 2012. The Quinnipiac North Haven campus received the CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation from the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.

“It’s important for students to take into consideration what they are putting in their bodies (so) Quinnipiac deciding to push this to other campuses besides North Haven is great,” said Cassandra Reyes, an Occupational Therapy student. “Why not really take care of the students by making a huge health decision like this?”

This new policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products on campuses from regular cigarettes, to hookah-smoking products. Students on campus use a variety of smoke products that, according to experts, have negative effects on the body.

These negative effects can have deadly repercussions. Tobacco use is the "single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States,” according to the CDC. Nearly a half-million people die a year from smoking cigarettes and 41,000 die from secondhand smoke.

“Honestly, I hate the smell of cigarettes or any kind of smoking. I grew up watching my uncle gradually get very sick because of his smoking addiction and he lost his life to it,” said Andres Baez, sophomore. “When I see people my age walking around campus smoking so much it disgusts me and saddens me at the same time.”

According to the American Cancer Society, “Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, which causes them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly. More than 70 such cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in cigarette smoke to date.

“The research is unequivocal on the deleterious health consequences of smoking and nicotine products,” Olian said in the email. “We have an obligation to all members of our community to support a healthy learning, working and social environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

The U.S Department of Health & Human Services conducted research approximating that 2.6 million high school and college students were currently tobacco users in 2017. This figure, however, is much smaller in proportion to adolescent tobacco use forty years ago. Only one in 25 teens smoked tobacco products in 2017.

But considering the smaller, yet still-living presence of college students smoking in the 21st century, not everyone is on-board with the new policy.

“President Olian made a strong decision. I vape all the time, that's a way for me to destress myself. I know the harm it has to my body, but that’s the thing, it's my body. I understand the betterment as a whole, but this is just a bit annoying,” said Quinnipiac freshman, Leo Thomas.  

Although the decision to become a tobacco free university stirred-up different opinions from students and faculty, the main goal of implementing this new policy is to assist students, faculty and staff while quitting smoking. Ultimately, this will assist in creating a healthier community at Quinnipiac University.