Belmont University is dedicated to the health and well being of all of its students, faculty and staff. In an endeavor to provide the healthiest possible environment, a smoke/tobacco-free campus policy will be introduced August 15, 2011.
We believe that it is our responsibility to actively engage our students in transforming their world and being leaders of change. Accepting responsibility for improving our environment begins on our campus.
Knowing the detrimental effects of tobacco use, we believe that we can no longer support its use on campus.
Everyone has the right to choose their own behavior, and if you choose to smoke, that is your right. However, tobacco use is not permitted on university property. If you are interested in taking this opportunity to quit smoking, options are available.
Some facts leading us to this conclusion are:
- Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in this country.
- According to the Center for Disease Control(CDC), cigarette smoking is responsible for 443,000 deaths annually.
- No amount of second hand smoke is safe. The longer you are around it, the more likely it is to hurt you. (Surgeon General's Report, 2006)
- An estimated 49,000 deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure.
- Tobacco smoke contains 4000 chemicals, 50 of which are known to cause cancer. Cancers associated with tobacco use include lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix.
- Tobacco use can also cause heart disease, lung disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), hip fractures and cataracts. Smokers are at high risk for developing pneumonia and other airway infections.
- Snuff and smokeless tobacco contain at least 28 chemicals and higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes. One can of snuff delivers more nicotine than 60 cigarettes, thus making it more addictive even than cigarettes.
- Smokeless tobacco irritates gum tissues, causing premature receding of gums, increased plaque buildup, and increases the risk of tooth decay by 4X that of nonusers.
- Tobacco use is responsible for more than 90% of tumors of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
- Smokeless tobacco increases risk for cancer of the pancreas as well as the risk for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.
- The yearly cost to US employers for lost productivity and sick time is estimated at greater than $21 billion.
- Individual tobacco use results in an average sick time of one month per year and employees who use tobacco require 3X more sick leave than non-smokers(U.S. Office of Technology and Assessment).
- Pregnant smokers are at higher risk of delivering premature and low birth weight babies, and a woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her baby's risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). (National Cancer Institute)
- Healthcare costs are 40% higher for smokers than non-smokers (NE Journal of Medicine)
- The smoking rate of Tennesseans is 23.1% for adults and 25.5% for high school aged children, making our state among the highest percentage of smokers in the United States. (American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control 2009 -Tennessee).
Benefits can be seen within a few short weeks. People who quit smoking:
- have improved circulation
- don't produce as much phlegm
- don't cough or wheeze as often
- can expect significant improvement in lung function - you can walk faster and further
- have fewer episodes of sinus and bronchial infections
- reduce their individual risk for many cancers(for instance, a 50% reduction of risk in developing oral cancers with 3-5 years of cessation and a return to normal risk after 10 years tobacco free)
- reduce their lifetime risk for heart disease.