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Smoke-free Campus Statement

Gateway Community College is a Smoke-Free Campus

Because Gateway Community College (GCC) is committed to providing a safe and healthy working and learning environment for the students, faculty, and staff on its campus, it hereby adopts the following smoke-free policy.

Section 1   Findings & Intent

The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, has concluded that:

  1. Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke;
  2. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks, and that smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children;
  3. Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer;
  4. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke;
  5. Establishing smoke-free workplaces is the only effective way to ensure that secondhand smoke exposure does not occur in the workplace, because ventilation and other air cleaning technologies cannot completely control exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke
  6. Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and laws do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006). According to the 2010 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease, even occasional exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful, and low levels of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke lead to a rapid and sharp increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and stroke. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General, Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010)

Numerous studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, and that breathing secondhand smoke (also known as environmental tobacco smoke) is a cause of disease in healthy nonsmokers, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute determined in 1999 (Monograph #10) that secondhand smoke is responsible for the early deaths of approximately 53,000 Americans annually. Based on a finding by the California Environmental Protection Agency in 2005, the California Air Resources Board has determined that secondhand smoke is a toxic air contaminant, finding that exposure to secondhand smoke has serious health effects, including low birth-weight babies, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), increased respiratory infections in children, asthma in children and adults, lung cancer, sinus cancer and breast cancer in younger premenopausal women, heart disease, and death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), scientific evidence has firmly established that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, a pollutant that causes serious illness in adults and children, and that implementing 100% smoke-free environments is the only effective way to protect the population from the harmful effects of exposure to secondhand smoke. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that disabled persons have access to public places and workplaces, deems impaired respiratory function to be a disability. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the risk of acute myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease associated with exposure to tobacco smoke is non-linear at low doses, increasing rapidly with relatively small doses such as those received from secondhand smoke or actively smoking one or two cigarettes a day, and has warned that all patients at increased risk of coronary heart disease or with known coronary artery disease should avoid all indoor environments that permit smoking. Unregulated high-tech smoking devices, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” closely resemble and purposefully mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The FDA’s testing also suggested that “quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent” ([n.a.], "Summary of results: laboratory analysis of electronic cigarettes conducted by FDA, July 22, 2009; Accessed on: October 22, 2009). E-cigarettes produce a vapor of undetermined and potentially harmful substances, which may appear similar to the smoke emitted by traditional tobacco products. Their use in workplaces and public places where smoking of traditional tobacco products is prohibited creates concern and confusion and leads to difficulties in enforcing the smoking prohibitions. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, more than a thousand colleges and universities in the United States have adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies, and this number is rising steadily. The American College Health Association “encourages colleges and universities to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100% indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.” The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI) to promote and support the adoption and implementation of tobacco-free policies at universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning across the United States. Accordingly, the Gateway Community College Administration finds and declares that the purposes of this policy are: 1) To protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking on the GCC campus; 2) To guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, while recognizing that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke; and 3) To encourage a healthier, more productive living/learning environment for all members of our campus community.

Section 2    Definitions

  • “E-cigarette” means any electronic oral device, such as one composed of a heating element, battery, and/or electronic circuit, which provides a vapor of nicotine or any other substance(s), and the use or inhalation of which simulates smoking. The term shall include any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, or under any other product name or descriptor.
  • “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe, including a hookah pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product, including marijuana, intended for inhalation, in any manner or in any form. “Smoking” also includes the use of an e-cigarette which creates a vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking in this Policy.

Section 3    Smoking Prohibited on the Gateway Campus

In light of the above findings, the Gateway Community College campus shall be entirely smoke free effective August 29, 2012.
The SmokeFree Policy applies to all Gateway Community College facilities and vehicles, owned or leased, regardless of location. Smoking shall not be permitted in any enclosed place. Smoking shall also be prohibited outdoors on all GCC campus property, including the GCC garage. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and other persons on campus, regardless of the purpose for their visit. Copies of this policy shall be distributed to all faculty and staff and shall be included with information given to all admitted students. Announcements shall also be printed in campus publications to insure that everyone understands the policy. No Smoking signs shall be posted at all points of entry to the Gateway Community College campus and at all GCC building entrances. No ashtrays shall be provided at any location on campus. Cigarettes, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, including hookah pipes, shall not be sold or distributed as samples on college grounds, either in vending machines, the student union, or any area on campus.   On-site smoking cessation programs shall be made available to assist and encourage individuals who wish to quit smoking. Questions and problems regarding this policy should be handled through existing departmental administrative channels and administrative procedures.

The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers. All students, faculty, and staff share in the responsibility for adhering to and enforcing this policy. Violations of the policy will be treated in accordance with general campus disciplinary procedures. In further recognition of the incompatibility of Gateway Community College’s educational mission and the promotion of tobacco products, effective August 2012: No tobacco-related advertising or sponsorship shall be permitted on GCC property, at college-sponsored events, or in publications produced by Gateway Community College, with the exception of advertising in a newspaper or magazine that is not produced by GCC and which is lawfully sold, bought, or distributed on Gateway Community College property. For the purposes of this policy, "tobacco related" applies to the use of a tobacco brand or corporate name, trademark, logo, symbol, or motto, selling message, recognizable pattern or colors, or any other indicia of product identical to or similar to, or identifiable with, those used for any brand of tobacco products or company which manufactures tobacco products.

Dorsey L. Kendrick PhD
President, Gateway Community College 2000-2017