“The SUNY chancellor (Nancy Zimpher) has strongly recommended that state colleges become tobacco-free by 2014,” VanCour said. “Although that recommendation would have to be passed by the State Legislature, it is asking SUNY schools to take a close look at what direction they’d like to take.”
Any tobacco-free policy should include support for smokers, including cessation material and information, she added.
“The Great American Smokeout is one way to promote all of the help that is available for people,” she said. “It gives people a specific day on the calendar to formulate a plan in advance and to quit smoking on that day.”
In New York state alone, more than 25,000 people die from smoke-related illnesses each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Although smoking numbers in adults have decreased from 21.1 million in 2009 to 18.1 million in 2010, that leaves a lot of people who remain addicted to tobacco.
“Tobacco-control policies have done a tremendous amount of work over the years, but there is still definitely a lot of work to be done,” VanCour said.
“The Great American Smokeout is justification that we need to continue moving forward.”
Email Jeff Meyers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great American Smokeout is a day every year designed to encourage smokers, whether of cigarettes, pipes or cigars, to make a plan to quit.
As the date approaches, some get their plan in place then actually quit smoking on that day.
Either way, the American Cancer Society offers plenty of resources, tips and support any time: at: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index. Or call (800) 227-2345.
As well, any business, municipality or other organization interested in having a public tobacco-free policy can call the Adirondack Tobacco-Free Network at 565-4993 for assistance in developing smoke-free policies.