Message from President John W. Mills
To the campus community:
In fall 2012, many of you took the time to share your thoughts about our plans to become a tobacco-free campus. I am thankful for the feedback you gave us – regardless of whether you agree with this move, or are opposed to it. I understand how passions on this issue run high and respect your thoughts.
The fact remains, though, that tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. So as of August 1, 2014, Paul Smith’s College will no longer allow tobacco use on campus.
There are several reasons why we’ve decided to take this step. Health, as I noted, is one of them: Tobacco use poses risks not only to those who use it, but also those who do not. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 443,000 people die prematurely every year because of tobacco use. More than 8 million are saddled with tobacco-related illnesses.
There are other reasons as well. Part of our mission as an institution of higher learning is to not only foster learning on campus, but also to give our students, staff and faculty the tools to make the world a more sustainable place – economically, socially and environmentally. Tobacco use doesn’t fit with this commitment. It is bad for the environment and costs tens of billions of dollars a year with regards to health care and lost productivity.
Over the coming months, a group comprised of faculty, staff and students will explore ways to implement this proposal and iron out the details. Your comments and questions will help shape our policy.
For the moment, little will change. Tobacco use will still be permitted in places where it is currently allowed; where it isn’t, those rules will be enforced. Next summer, we will further restrict the areas on campus where tobacco use is allowed, before phasing it out completely. To help ease this transition, we are exploring how to make resources available for those of you who would like to stop using tobacco products.
I imagine many of you will have questions about this change. While we are still working out the details of this transition, we have prepared a brief list of frequently asked questions. If you have other questions or comments, we welcome them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may contact me at email@example.com.
Hundreds of colleges and universities in the country have gone tobacco free in recent years – more than 800, in fact, as of this month, not to mention hundreds more that are smoke-free. It is the right time to join them.
Dr. John W. Mills, President