On January 1st, 2014, Florida State University took the initiative to ban tobacco from its campus. While before 2014, “breathe easy” zones — little tobacco free areas, such as the Health and Wellness Center and Oglesby Union — could be found dotted all over campus, as soon as the ball dropped for midnight, all of the air around FSU got a little cleaner.
The university’s reason for going tobacco free? To set an example.
Florida State is among top-tier research universities, thus it sets examples for other organizations with its actions — including its policies relating to the health and safety of students, visitors, and personnel.
Though FSU has gone tobacco free, it seems as if smokers in general have become less and less common. Statistics say that 20.5% of adult men and 15.8% of adult women smoke in the United States, adding up to a combined 18.1% (42.1 million people) of Americans being smokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the majority of these smokers (21.6%) are adults aged 24-44 years of age, a majority are living below the poverty level (27.9%), and the ethnic group most likely to smoke are individuals of mixed race (26.1%). The CDC also divulges that 41.9% of adults with a GED diploma smoke, but only 5.9% of adults with post graduate degrees will smoke (undergraduate degree 9.1%).
According to the American Lung Association, every year in the state of Florida, 258.8 adults per 100,000 persons will die from smoking attributed causes. The youth rate is a startling 369,000 total projected deaths per year.
In 1981, cigarette consumption was at its highest, with a total yearly consumption of a whopping 640 billion cigarettes. Since the ‘80s, however, cigarette consumption has been on the decline, and in 2007 the cigarette consumption had almost halved to a still startlingly high 360 billion cigarettes consumed per year.
So, Americans are progressively learning to smoke less, and as statistics show, the higher the level of education, the less likely one is to smoke. If smoking is on the decline, why would Florida State bother to go tobacco free?
Because, despite the decline of smoking and its low prevalence amongst educated adults, one in every three college students smokes.
One third of college students reported that they had used tobacco products — be it cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or cigars — in the last four weeks. Despite the overall decline of smoking in the United States, between the years of 1993 and 1997, the number of college students who smoke increased from 22% to 28%. More recent studies have shown that 33% of college students currently use tobacco.
Countless studies have shown that when one smokes, they don’t just hurt themselves, they also hurt those around them. As people continue to smoke and engage in the use of tobacco, Florida State believes that “everyone has the right to work and live in environments that are free of risks and effects associated with tobacco use.”
Not only has Florida State University banned smoking and tobacco use, but the university also provides free smoking cessation programs.
FSU is just one part of a tobacco free Leon County, which in turn is a part of a tobacco free Florida.
Healthy lungs everywhere rejoice at the prevalence of fresh air.