Contact: Evelyn Gard
Director, Public Affairs
Gateway Community College
(203) 314-7028 cell
(203) 285-2065 office
GATEWAY COMMUNITY COLLEGE FIRST TO RECEIVE
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH “SMOKE-FREE CAMPUS” DESIGNATION
(New Haven) January 29, 2014 - Gateway Community College (GCC) announced today that is has become the first college in Connecticut to receive official recognition as a “Smoke-Free” campus by the State Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The distinction puts GCC, one of the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (ConnSCU), in line as the first to join the ranks of 1,182 colleges and universities across the nation that have been designated by Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), the leading national organization for nonsmokers’ rights, as a nationally recognized “smoke free” campus.
GCC implemented the campus-wide policy when it moved to its new downtown New Haven campus in August 2012, making it the first of Connecticut’s state colleges and universities to ban smoking in indoor and outdoor areas across the campus.
“We are proud that Gateway Community College is the first of the state’s public colleges and universities to become a smoke-free campus,” said Dr. Gregory Gray, President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. “Gateway is providing a healthier environment for our students, faculty, and staff, and is leading the way to a better college experience in Connecticut.”
Gateway’s Smoke Free status was officially acknowledged by Betsy Rosenfeld, Regional Health Administrator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Jewel Mullen, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Dr. Gray in a special presentation made earlier today to GCC President, Dr. Dorsey Kendrick.
In a January 21 report marking the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's report on Smoking and Health, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius states that evidence in the report “shows tobacco’s continued, immense burden to our nation—and how essential ending the tobacco epidemic is to our work to increase the life expectancy and quality of life of all Americans. This year alone, nearly one-half million adults will still die prematurely because of smoking. Annually, the total economic costs due to tobacco are now over $289 billion. And if we continue on our current trajectory, 5.6 million children alive today who are younger than 18 years of age will die prematurely as a result of smoking.”
“While the overall use of tobacco in the state is declining, the rate of tobacco use among adults 18 to 34 is still over 32 percent. In fact, every year more than 4,700 Connecticut residents die from smoking-related diseases," said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. "That's why we applaud Gateway Community College for setting policies that address the devastating effects of tobacco use. By going smoke-free, Gateway makes an important difference in the health of its students, staff, and faculty."
According to www.no-smoke.org, the number of smoke free campuses across the country as almost tripled since 2010, and expectations are high that the number will continue to climb as smoke-free environments become the social norm.
“Gateway’s new campus was designed as a smoke-free facility,” explains GCC President, Dr. Dorsey Kendrick, “Our commitment to green living and our designation as a LEED Gold campus make being smoke-free as important as all of our other sustainable initiatives. We are committed to the wellbeing of all who enter our doors in pursuit of a better future, and that includes better health.”
Information on creating a smoke-free environment can be found on the Americans for Non-smoker’s Rights (ANR) website at www.no-smoke.org.
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