Tobacco Action Group
The mission of the Tobacco Action Group (TAG) is to promote tobacco prevention, cessation, and awareness activities at the University of Washington (UW). The vision of TAG is a 100% smoke- and tobacco-free UW.
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death. For every five deaths caused by tobacco use, one person will die from secondhand smoke exposure. Nearly 21 million people died as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in the US between 1964 and 2014.
The college years are critical in preventing tobacco addiction.
If young people don’t start smoking by the age of 26, they will not become addicted to tobacco. Once the brain has fully developed – which occurs by the mid-twenties – it can no longer generate new nicotine receptors, which is why the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars marketing cigarettes to teens and young adults.
Fifteen million students, or a third of all young adults in this country, attend college, and research has shown that 39% of those who smoke either started smoking or became regular smokers during their college years. Studies have also shown that smoke-free environments reduce smoking substantially among those who work or go to school in those places.
People want to quit smoking, and resources are available.
Nearly 70 percent of smokers say that they want to quit, and about 50 percent of smokers try to quit each year. Without significant help and support, only about 5 percent will succeed in quitting. UW can help smokers quit by enacting a tobacco-free campus policy and continuing to fund the Tobacco Talk program, which provides free counseling and nicotine replacement therapy for students.
UW must act now to prevent more addiction, disease and death.
Even though more than 1,500 college and university campuses around the country are now completely smoke and tobacco-free, UW students, faculty and staff continue to be involuntarily exposed to toxic tobacco smoke, as they encounter the 30 designated smoking areas around campus.
TAG calls on President Young and Provost Cauce to meet the US Department of Health & Human Services’ Fresh Air Campus Challenge, which urges all Pacific Northwest campuses to commit to enacting a tobacco-free policy by the end of 2016.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the effort to make UW 100% tobacco-free, contact TAG at firstname.lastname@example.org.