The main reason to have tobacco-free (TF) colleges is to prevent a new generation of lifetime smokers, of which an estimated one million will die from tobacco-related diseases. The age cohort of college students, 18-25, is the one at highest risk of becoming lifelong smokers. Ninety percent of smokers began smoking by the time they were 18 years old and 99% started smoking by the time they were 26. Other benefits of TF campuses include:

  • Create an environment that helps students, staff and faculty to stop using tobacco or never start
  • Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, for which there is no safe level of exposure, and potential liability to the college for smoking-related health problems
  • Send a strong message that health and addiction-free living is important and taken seriously by the school
  • Reduce costs of maintenance and cleaning
  • Reduce staff time spent on maintenance, including picking up cigarette butts and other tobacco waste
  • Enhance the campus’ image as a clean and healthy environment for visitors such as parents, prospective students, donors, as well as for the larger community

The colleges in our three counties – SUNY Delhi, Oneonta, and Cobleskill and Hartwick College – are vital to our region’s economy and to our communities’ vibrancy. As of July 2020, over 2,500 campuses nationwide have become 100% smoke free, and in New York State 73 campuses are tobacco free, and another 21 are smoke free. 

TFC-DOS offers FREE assistance, information and resources to colleges interested in developing tobacco-free policies.

Contact Jennifer Hill at, TFC-DOS Youth Engagement Coordinator to find out more.

Resources on tobacco-free campuses: