Berry College Goes Tobacco-free in August 2015

Release Date: December 05, 2014

All 27,000 acres of the world’s largest college campus, Berry College, will become tobacco-free beginning Aug. 1, 2015.

This policy will apply to all employees, students, contractors and guests in the interest of the health and well-being of the campus community. Smoking is currently not allowed in campus buildings or on The Martha Berry Museum and Oak Hill property. The tobacco-free policy includes e-cigs, vapor, chewing tobacco, etc.

“Residential colleges should set the standard for healthy community behavior,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “Berry bears a responsibility to foster healthy decisions consistent with long-established medical evidence.  While we recognize and respect that individuals will make health-related behavioral choices over the course of a lifetime, we must also recognize that addictive habits acquired early in life can be punishing to overcome.”

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General have urged campuses to take a strong stand on this national health problem by becoming tobacco free.  There are currently 1,477 smoke-free campuses in the nation, of which 975 are tobacco-free.  The University System of Georgia implemented a tobacco-free policy effective Oct. 1.

Smoking and the use of tobacco products continue to be the leading cause of preventable death in the nation, and 99% of adult smokers begin smoking by the age of 25.  For smokers under the age of 49, the average age of initiation is 20.

For adult smokers, Berry officials recognize this policy will be challenging and are working with Harbin Clinic to provide appropriate educational programs and professional assistance.  Berry’s Health and Wellness Center will also provide smoking cessation assistance to students.

“I am proud to lead Berry College as we become tobacco free. Together we can make a positive statement about the value of personal and community health here on Berry’s amazing, tobacco-free campus,” Briggs said.