On August 1, 2015 Loyola University New Orleans will become a tobacco-free campus. This historic change on our campus is not only happening here, but also in our city with the SmokeFreeNOLA movement. This change will improve the health of everyone on campus including our visitors.
The health benefits of a tobacco-free campus are not only beneficial to the tobacco user, but also for every person on campus who may be exposed to second and thirdhand smoke. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), secondhand smoke causes many negative effects including different types of cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and numerous health problems. Many of these can lead to an early death. According to the CDC, since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report, 2.5 million adults who were non-smokers died because they breathed secondhand smoke.
A big misconception is that just a brief occasional public encounter with cigarette smoke will not cause negative health effects. According to the CDC, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. This means that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Besides secondhand smoke, there is another hidden danger of cigarette smoke called thirdhand smoke. This is the toxic residue that lingers on many surfaces long after a cigarette is extinguished. This residue (thirdhand smoke) is a health risk to those who come in contact with it. It can be found on clothing, hair, skin, furniture, carpet, vehicles and many other surfaces. The chemicals in thirdhand smoke are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and can be released back into the air we breathe.
A tobacco-free community will promote a healthy campus environment by decreasing community exposure to second and thirdhand smoke, assist those who wish to stop smoking through cessation programs and prevent student smokers from developing a lifelong smoking habit. Negative health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke include: numerous respiratory illnesses, asthma exacerbation, allergic reactions, persistent cough, allergy-related illnesses, diminished vocal ability, decreased lung capacity, and cosmetic changes (increased wrinkles, yellowing of teeth and nails).
This is an exciting time for the entire Loyola community as we work toward improved health and well-being!