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What is the North Carolina Tobacco-Free Colleges Movement? 

Since 2006 the NC Tobacco-Free Colleges movement has been working to empower college campuses to protect students, employees, and visitors from the harms of secondhand smoke.  The focus is to work collaboratively with campuses to promote policy adoption, reduce tobacco-related health disparities, and promote access to tobacco cessation services among college students. 

Does North Carolina law allow colleges, universities and community colleges to make comprehensive tobacco policies?

North Carolina law allows both private colleges and community colleges to prohibit all tobacco use on campus (G.S. 143-599) and become 100% tobacco-free.  The law also prohibits smoking in UNC system dormitories beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year. G.S. 143-596 allows UNC system schools to prohibit smoking within 100 linear feet of a campus building. The law also allows the medical facilities of UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University to completely prohibit smoking on the grounds and walkways of these facilities. There is still work to be done to pass legislation so that the UNC system schools can pass comprehensive tobacco use prevention policies. 

Why should college campuses be tobacco-free? 

College students deserve safe, clean air as well as anyone else. Tobacco-free policies on campuses contribute to changing the tobacco-free social norm in the same way smoke-free restaurants and K-12 schools have for North Carolina. Young adults (age 18-24) smoke at the highest rates and quitting smoking before age 30 can drastically reduce risk of tobacco-related diseases. Most smokers have tried to quit, and we want to make quitting easier on campus. In addition, the American College Health Association recommends 100% tobacco-free buildings and grounds to support students in their development of healthy lifestyles and to protect students, faculty, and staff from the known harms of secondhand smoke.  Join others throughout NC in adopting these policies.

How can I learn more about resources or about a specific campus?

By clicking on this link you can look up individual college campus policies throughout North Carolina.  You will find UNC system, private colleges, and community college policies.  If you click on our “Get Involved & Get Resources” tab above you will find numerous fact sheets on tobacco use, policy examples, and how-to documents.  

NCDHHS, Division of Public Health
North Carolina Public Health