Senior Tra Nguyen has drafted a proposal to make Ithaca College a tobacco-free campus, with the goal of implementing the plan sometime in the near future. The college should work with Nguyen to make this plan a reality.
This is not the first time that a student has proposed a measure like this. The Tobacco Free IC bill was passed by the Student Governance Council in Spring 2016, but it did not gain much traction among senators after Tim Conners ’17, the original senator who proposed the bill, left his position.
Not only that, but it is an idea that is gaining support nationwide. As of Jan. 2, there were 2,106 smoke-free campuses in the U.S., and Ithaca may join that growing list if this proposal gains support. On a local scale, SUNY Cortland, Binghamton University and Syracuse University have already banned tobacco products on their campuses, and Cornell University may soon follow suit.
There are numerous health detriments that come from smoking cigarettes, both for those who smoke them and for those who are simply near smokers. It can exacerbate existing respiratory problems, and it increases the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and stroke among both men and women. Only 9 percent of students at the college reported using tobacco cigarettes within the last month, according to the 2017 National College Health Assessment Report. While this is a relatively low percentage in comparison to the 15.5 percent of smokers nationwide, creating a tobacco-free campus could improve the health of students across campus. At the very least, a tobacco-free campus would make students think twice before smoking cigarettes.
This task seems like a daunting one, but Nguyen’s efforts are most definitely commendable. The smoke-free campus proposal is a perfect example of students trying to make a change in the places that they live, work and learn. Creating proposals to improve the campus environment is a good indicator that students are engaged and invested in being members of the college community, which is most definitely a positive thing.
The SGC should most definitely support Nguyen’s efforts to bring her proposal to fruition and not let this policy fall through the cracks again. The college should encourage this move.