In early spring of 2009, CPCC administration appointed a Task Force to review the College’s smoking policy, research policies at other colleges and universities, determine best practices, and develop recommendations for changes to our existing policy. This Task Force included 17 people representing all six CPCC campuses, Student Government Association, College Senate, Classified Staff Council, and at least four current tobacco users.
The Task Force quickly went to work. We learned that 27 colleges and universities in North Carolina had adopted tobacco-free policies (the current number, including CPCC, is 32). We discussed the legislation that bans smoking from restaurants and bars beginning January 2, 2010. We learned that the NC state employee’s health plan was developing plans to limit insurance coverage for tobacco users. We participated in a state-wide teleconference presentation featuring officials from a number of colleges with tobacco-free campus policies. And we held lengthy discussions of the pros and cons of adopting a tobacco-free policy at CPCC.
In March of 2009, the Task Force conducted a survey of all CPCC students and employees. We received 2,195 responses, which is a remarkably high response rate. The survey showed that 21% of respondents currently use tobacco products; 23% of respondents reported a health condition that is aggravated by tobacco smoke; and 64% indicated that they believe CPCC should do more to reduce tobacco use, and that they would support a 100% tobacco-free policy on all campuses.
In late April of 2009, the Task Force voted to recommend a 100% tobacco-free college policy. We developed a draft policy and presented it to the CPCC Cabinet in June. During the summer, College officials reviewed the draft policy, discussed the pros and cons, and ultimately decided to support the recommendations of the Task Force. On September 2, 2009, the CPCC Board of Trustees voted to adopt the tobacco-free college policy, and established an implementation date of January 2, 2010.
CPCC is among a growing number of colleges and universities across the country that are choosing to become tobacco free. We believe that tobacco-free campuses model healthy behaviors and offer individuals of all ages a healthier place to learn, work and visit.