The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is committed to providing a healthy environment on campuses. We recognize the serious health implications of both the direct use of tobacco products and indirect exposure to the use of tobacco products and our responsibility to promote the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.
In March 2014, the Board of Regents adopted a tobacco and smoke-free campus policy to make USG 100% tobacco free effective October 1, 2014.
“Tobacco Products” are defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco, such as hookahs, or simulate the use of tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes. The USG hopes you enjoy the healthier environment we’re creating for you and visitors to our campuses and facilities.
The Council is pleased to see the University System take a strong stance against tobacco use on its campuses. We are beginning to see more businesses and organizations making public health a priority, and when large and important entities change policy, it encourages others to do the same
Dr. James Hotz
The Council of Regional Cancer Coalitions of Georgia
If you want to be tobacco-free, there’s help. The USG is providing coverage for all over-the-counter items and prescription smoking cessation products or you can participate in a cessation program.LEARN MORE
The purpose of the policy is to create a health-supporting community for everyone, tobacco-users and non-users alike. The new policy also supports the right of all people on university system campuses to breathe smoke-free air. The simple reason for our policy is respect for each other and the environment. We hope that smokers who choose to continue smoking will respect our smoke-free environment out of concern for their fellow campus community members.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death, responsible for more than 440,000 deaths a year in the United States. Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicle crashes, homicide, suicide, illegal drugs and fires - COMBINED.
Tobacco addiction begins almost exclusively among youth and young adults. The 2012 Surgeon General’s Report shows that 99% of smokers begin smoking and using other forms of tobacco by age 26, making college and university campuses a critical target for tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts.
The reason this is more than just a smoke-free policy is because even the rates of smokeless tobacco are increasing within the state of Georgia. For more information view the Georgia Department of Public Health study.
Electronic cigarette (e-cig) use is found to be highest among college students. While it may be used as an aid to quit smoking, it still is a highly concentrated source of addictive nicotine and it has not been regulated or studied enough to support claims of use for tobacco cessation. E-cigs also pollute the air and early research shows negative lung effects and inflammation, similar to smoking. For more information about poisoning related to e-cigarettes view the CDC study.
Tobacco and its usage is completely legal for adults above the age of 18. The USG is not forcing anyone to quit. However, the university system owns campus properties, and can establish policies that protect the health of all university system members. A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; it merely establishes where use can occur.
Talk to a Quit Coach who can help you quit tobacco.
An online program to help you quit tobacco is a click away.
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Find classes near you.
Where’s your cell phone? Is it next to you? Grab it! Did you know there are now apps and resources on your phone that help support you on your journey to quitting tobacco? Try one of these today!
QuitSTART is another free smartphone app that can help you track your cravings and moods, monitor your progress toward achieving smokefree milestones, identify your smoking triggers, and upload personalized "pick me ups" and reminders to use during challenging times to help you successfully become and stay smokefree. It was created with young adults in mind.
QuitNow! offers you real-time stats, anytime, to help you cope with anxiety: The time (days, hours, minutes) since the last cigarette of your life, - How many cigarettes you have avoided, - The money and time you have saved. Also, QuitNow! will provide you with W.H.O.-based (U.N.'s World Health Organization) indicators on your health improvement process.
SmokefreeTXT is a mobile text messaging service designed for adults and young adults across the United States who are trying to quit smoking. The program was created to provide 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers quit smoking and stay quit.Visit Site
National Cancer Institute’s LiveHelp Smoking Online Chat connects you with a Cancer Information Specialist who can chat with you about general cancer information as well as quitting smoking.Visit Site
You can always find free, helpful resources to inform you about the health effects of tobacco usage and steps to start your journey towards quitting at any of these sites:
The health and welfare of Georgia students is a high priority for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Colleges frequently strive to reduce injuries and illness through policies that eliminate hazards and unsafe behaviors from their campuses. Tobacco should be no exception to this rule, as its usage is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States.
High rates of tobacco use among college students run counter to downward trends in the general population. Together with the administration, students at some USG institutions have already begun working to combat and decrease these rates. They have reached out to community organizations and sponsors to increase awareness of the policy change, and help fellow students and colleagues prepare for the healthier campus environment. Whether it is through yard signs, health fairs or flash mobs, Georgia students recognize the benefits of going tobacco-free and have worked to prioritize not only their personal health, but also the health of those around them.
Students should know that the USG does not expect everybody to quit using tobacco, but rather asks that students respect the policy while in and on all USG facilities. As for students who are considering quitting tobacco, see below for cessation resources that are available on your campus.
I am pleased to inform you that the University System of Georgia has officially adopted a Tobacco and Smoke Free Campus Policy to become effective October 1, 2014. This policy provides an opportunity to improve the health and safety of all students, staff, faculty and visitors. Tobacco is the #1 leading cause of avoidable death in the United States; the policy seeks to reduce tobacco related deaths.
The use of all tobacco and smoke related products is prohibited. While choosing to use tobacco is a personal choice, the health hazards related to smoking and exposure to second- and third-hand smoke are well-documented. These hazards can affect not only the smoker, but also others who are exposed to the smoke.
The tobacco and smoke-free policy is available for review. To support the implementation of the policy, tobacco users will have access to a variety of free and low-cost support services, in addition to those provided by health insurance. The tobacco and smoke-free policy will create a healthier work and learning environment for students, faculty and staff. The Board of Regents is dedicated to being an active partner in promoting the safety, health and welfare of all who study, teach, work and visit its campuses.
The USG will be joining over 1,000 other colleges and universities that have already implemented Tobacco and/or Smoke Free Policies. Visit tobaccofreecampus.org to learn more about this nationwide effort.
The USG already has twelve Tobacco and/or Smoke Free campuses that will be able to guide other institutions as they become tobacco/smoke free. The campuses are: Armstrong State University, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, College of Coastal Georgia, Columbus State University, Dalton State College, Darton State College, East Georgia State College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Regents University, Georgia State University, Gordon State College and University of North Georgia.
With your support as well as the support of organizations like the Department of Health and Human Services, The Centers for Disease Control and the Georgia Department of Public Health, I am confident we will be successful in implementing an effective Tobacco and Smoke Free Campus Policy.
Your support of this important initiative is appreciated.
Henry M. Huckaby
In an effort to prepare University System of Georgia campuses to be tobacco-free, some schools have already created websites where students, faculty and staff can learn about the specifics of the policy change on their respective campuses, as well as learn of the resources that are available to them. Find your school and click below to see what your campus has to offer!
If you still have more questions, contact us at the University System Offices.