Tobacco cessation programs are critical on college campuses. Young adults between 18 and 24 have the highest percentage of smokers in Maine, and college students make up a significant proportion of those numbers. Nationally, 27% of college students smoke in the U.S. As youth grow up, leave home and go off to college, peer and life pressures escalate, and students are put at high risk for tobacco use.
College is also a time when many young adults either establish or abandon tobacco use. One of the greatest challenges on the college tobacco landscape is the growing number of “social smokers” – those who usually smoke while hanging out with friends, drinking, or partying, putting themselves at risk for established smoking and addiction.
Smoking also costs colleges money. Fires, higher maintenance costs, decreased worker productivity, and increased health care costs are just some ways that smoking creates a financial drain for colleges.
The Maine Tobacco-Free College Network, a collaboration among the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association of Maine, local HMPs, colleges, and other partners, is making steady progress in limiting tobacco use and providing free cessation services on Maine’s college campuses. MTFCN helps to support a tobacco-free lifestyle for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, and visitors at college campuses around the state in an effort to counter the high rates of tobacco use among college students.
The Network has been successful in creating synergy and resulted in changes that each partner could not achieve alone. In addition to creating a campus culture that supports a tobacco-free lifestyle, MTFCN reduces fire risks, decreases maintenance costs, and improves the health of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. It also helps tailor programs to freshmen, women, fraternity and sorority members, athletes, and other groups that have their own unique needs when it comes to planning policy and prevention strategies. Visit the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network.
Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) is a nationwide collaboration of college students, faculty, and staff dedicated to eliminating cancer by working to implement the programs and mission of the American Cancer Society. With hundreds of chapters nationwide, CAC is showing the world that young people care and want to make a difference.
How many college organizations do you know that involve the entire campus community and surrounding area? CAC does just that through four Strategic Directions: Advocacy, Cancer Education, Relay For Life, and Survivorship. By working to advance the mission of the American Cancer Society, the Strategic Directions are areas in which college students are easily engaged.