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City Colleges of Chicago Adopts Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

1/12/2012 12:00 AM

As part of an effort to promote healthy lifestyles among students, faculty and staff, the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees passed a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy today, becoming the largest higher education institution in Chicago to do so.  The policy, which will take effect March 1, 2012, prohibits tobacco use (including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products) on all college property, impacting more than 120,000 students and 5,800 faculty and staff as well as visitors.

“This is an important step towards ensuring that our students have healthy and safe environments to live, learn, play and succeed,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Promoting healthy environments is crucial to securing a high-quality of life for Chicagoans in every neighborhood, supporting a vibrant economy, and keeping our city on the cutting edge.”

The policy will cover City Colleges’ seven colleges, seven satellite locations and the district office. City Colleges is offering “Courage to Quit” smoking cessation classes and other resources to assist students, faculty and staff at each college who want to quit smoking or stop using other tobacco products. These resources will be available at new college Wellness Centers.

“As we reinvent our institution to ensure students are prepared to compete for the jobs of the future, we must also provide a learning environment that protects their future health and well-being. The tobacco-free policy helps create a college environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle among our faculty, staff and students, and benefits the entire City Colleges community,” said Chancellor Hyman.

“This policy is critical in saving lives, and is an important step in implementing the City’s public health agenda, Healthy Chicago,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “College students use tobacco at a higher rate than the average of adults across the nation and we applaud City Colleges of Chicago for its bold move to help reduce tobacco use and decrease exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Prior to adopting the policy, City Colleges conducted a survey of students, faculty and staff, which found that 85 percent of respondents said that a tobacco-free policy would improve health for staff and students. 80 percent of those surveyed believed the policy would introduce changes in social norms, creating a healthier school environment. More than half of all smokers surveyed said that on-campus smoking cessation programs would help them transition to a tobacco-free lifestyle.

The Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago (RHAMC) assisted City Colleges in crafting its policy. Joel Africk, RHAMC President and Chief Executive Officer of commented that “Studies have shown that tobacco-free policies make it easier for people who want to quit smoking to be successful, and decrease the likelihood that others will start , This is especially true when an institution offers group classes or other free resources to help people quit smoking.”

The City Colleges of Chicago District-wide Student Government Association voted unanimously to support the tobacco-free campus policy.

"From a student’s perspective, a tobacco-free campus helps both smokers and non-smokers, as it helps to create a comfortable environment for the non-smoker who should not have to endure the harmful effects of second-hand smoke,” said Olurotimi Akindele, president of the Harold Washington College Student Government Association. “Likewise, a tobacco-free campus paired with support services encourages smokers who are trying to quit. I am happy that City Colleges of Chicago is focused on ensuring our students are supported in their academic pursuits as well as the other non-academic aspects of their lives that are often critical to their success in college and beyond."  

The tobacco-free policy is just the first component in City Colleges’ overall Healthy Campus initiative, which will also include healthy and affordable food choices, zero tolerance for violence/bullying, green initiatives and other healthy activities.

Contact Information

Katheryn Hayes
(312) 553-2719


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