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May 24, 2013
Susan B Cole 315 464-6547

Upstate receives an ‘A’ grade for its 100% tobacco free policy

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate Medical University is being recognized with an “A” grade from the American Cancer Society for implementation of a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy. Upstate is one of 48 colleges and universities statewide to receive this honor.

Upstate Medical University was the first SUNY campus to go smoke-free on Aug. 1, 2005. “It was important to us to not only provide a tobacco-free environment for our employees, students and visitors, but also to provide the resources needed to every person here who wanted to quit smoking,” explained Bruce Simmons, M.D., director of Employee/Student Health and chair of the university’s smoke-free advisory committee. “Between 2002 and 2010, we saw a 35 percent decrease in employees that self-identify as smokers. This is an encouraging sign of real progress at creating a healthier Upstate.”

The American Cancer Society reports that tobacco-free campuses are a growing trend both in New York state and nationwide. As of January 1, 2013, there are 67 smoke-free or tobacco-free campuses in New York state and at least 825 throughout the nation where smoking is not permitted anywhere on campus. In 2012, the SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution to support a tobacco-free SUNY policy and the development of New York state legislation that would ban the use of tobacco on grounds and facilities controlled by SUNY. If such legislation is enacted, SUNY will become the largest public university system in the country to adopt such a policy.

Last month, the American Cancer Society gave Upstate another healthy honor. The cancer society named the Upstate residence hall Geneva Tower a “Healthy High Rise,” for being one of the first smoke-free high rise buildings in upstate New York.

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