TROY, N.Y. — Hudson Valley Community College will be completely tobacco and smoke-free beginning in fall 2013. The college's board of trustees approved a policy at its March meeting prohibiting tobacco use on college-controlled property and aligning the college with SUNY's vision for a tobacco-free system.
Hudson Valley's policy bans chewing tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, other tobacco products or smoking devices such as pipes and vaporizers on the college premises. The college joins a growing number of higher education institutions going tobacco-free.
According to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, there are 1,159 completely smoke-free campuses in the country.
The SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution in June 2012 to support a “tobacco-free SUNY,” prohibiting the use of tobacco on grounds and facilities controlled by the system.
When implemented, SUNY would be the largest public university system in the country to adopt a comprehensive tobacco-free policy. Three other states, Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma, have enacted new laws to make their respective states' campuses entirely tobacco- and smoke-free. The City University of New York began implementing a tobacco-free policy on all 23 of its campuses in September 2012.
Secondhand tobacco smoke is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a class a carcinogen, the same as asbestos, and there is no level of exposure considered to be safe. Recent evidence suggests that short-term exposure to secondhand smoke, even outdoors, puts people at risk, especially those with pre-existing cardiac and pulmonary illness.
“A tobacco-free Hudson Valley promotes a healthy and safe environment for our community. The well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors is something we take very seriously, and we're proud to be among the rising number of colleges nationwide to implement a tobacco-free environment,” said Drew Matonak, President of Hudson Valley Community College.
“As SUNY continues to work toward its 2014 goal of being completely tobacco-free across its 64 campuses, Hudson Valley Community College is certainly ahead of the curve,” said SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “Congratulations to President Drew Matonak and the entire Hudson Valley community on this extraordinary achievement.”