City Colleges Smoking Ban: Chicago Campuses Go Tobacco-Free

Chicago's City Colleges voted Thursday to ban tobacco use on school property at their seven colleges, seven satellite locations and district office.

The policy goes into effect March 1 and will include a smoking cessation program called "Courage to Quit," according to a press release from the city. More than 120,000 students and 5,800 faculty and staff will be affected by the ban, which includes smokeless tobacco products in the list of substances prohibited on school property.

Before voting on the measure, the school system surveyed students, faculty and staff, and found 85 percent supported a tobacco-free campus, according to the release. College students typically smoke at a higher rate than average adults, according to Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, who praised the move.

"From a student's perspective, a tobacco-free campus helps both smokers and non-smokers, as it helps to create a comfortable environment for the non-smoker who should not have to endure the harmful effects of second-hand smoke," Olurotimi Akindele, president of the Harold Washington College Student Government Association, said in the release. "I am happy that City Colleges of Chicago is focused on ensuring our students are supported in their academic pursuits as well as the other non-academic aspects of their lives that are often critical to their success in college and beyond."

The ban is part of a larger initiative, led by the public health department, to provide city residents with resources and support to make healthier choices.