State’s colleges go smoke-free today

Published 1:18 pm Friday, August 1, 2014

Starting Friday, public colleges and universities in Louisiana will be required to make their campuses smoke-free.

Several schools have taken a step beyond that, making their campuses tobacco-free as well.

Act 211, passed by the Legislature in 2013, mandates all public postsecondary institutions in Louisiana must develop and implement non-smoking polices at all facilities by Aug. 1.

Tobacco-free policies, which include things such as oral tobacco products, prevent “sending mixed messages about tobacco,” said Jennifer Gilchrist, regional manager for Louisiana Tobacco-Free Living.

“A smoke-free campus policy is a good idea because it protects others from the toxic problems from exposure to secondhand smoke,” Gilchrist said. “A tobacco-free policy is best because it protects everyone, including the user.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.7 percent of people 18 and older in Louisiana smoked cigarettes in 2011.

That ranked 46th among states. The state ranked 30th in use of smokeless tobacco.

Louisiana ranked 39th with 21.8 percent of youths in grades 9-12 being cigarette smokers.