The City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban higher-education system in the country, followed in the footsteps of the University at Buffalo (UB) and Columbia University, after it voted in favor of banning smoking on all of its 23 campuses. UB had banned smoking in its three campuses last summer while Columbia approved a measure that prohibited smoking within 20 feet of buildings last month.
According to a report on The New York Times, the trustees of CUNY arrived at the decision on Monday. The move will impact all CUNY campuses, from the College of Staten Island to Lehman College in the Bronx.
Making college campuses smoke-free is a trend that began five years ago, and it has gained momentum in recent months. According to the non-profit advocacy group American Non-smoker’s Rights Foundation, at least 466 college campuses across America have completely banned smoking, or have already passed resolutions that would implement a ban.
Advocates of instituting smoking bans at college campuses feel that anti-smoking rules impart to young people the importance of leading healthy lifestyles early on. Cynthia Hallett, the Berkeley, California-based Foundation’s executive director, shared: “It makes a lot of sense… My daughter is going off to college this year, and the campus is a student’s new home and work and play environment.”
The smoking ban, according to officials of CUNY, was prompted in part by the creation of the CUNY School of Public Health. While campuses will have until September 2012 to impose the new rules, they are not bound by that deadline and can forbid smoking earlier, should they wish to do so.