Why are tobacco/vape-free college campuses important?
With 99% of smokers starting before age 26, college campuses are critical to preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding current smokers in quitting and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all. Tobacco/vape-free policies are especially important for institutions that serve populations disproportionately affected by tobacco – including people in low-income communities, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, military members and those with mental illness. Beyond the long-established negative health effects of smoking, scientific evidence shows that nicotine in any form can worsen anxiety symptoms and amplify feelings of depression – as mental health becomes a more critical issue on college campuses.
The dangers of tobacco use are especially dire now, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named smoking a risk factor for developing severe illness from COVID-19. Additionally, research shows that young people who reported ever using e-cigarettes were up to five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19.