Promoting a Smoke-Free GW

November 15, 2012

The George Washington University has set a goal to make all its campuses in the District and Virginia smoke-free in fall 2013. George Washington President Steven Knapp will make the pledge as part of the American Cancer Society’s 37th annual Great American Smokeout. By doing so, we will join more than 800 other U.S. colleges and universities that have made the conscious decision to eliminate smoking campus-wide.

This policy is an idea that many in our GW community, including students, faculty and staff, have promoted for years. The push to make GW smoke-free dates to 2008, when student groups began lobbying the administration to prohibit smoking on campus. A Student Association referendum in February 2012 showed that two-thirds of respondents supported a 25-foot smoking ban around buildings and in public spaces like Kogan Plaza and University Yard. A planning committee has solicited perspectives and suggestions from faculty, staff , undergraduate and graduate students from across the university.

A growing body of research indicates that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke (smoke from someone else’s cigarette, cigar or pipe). In fact, in 2009, the American College Health Association (ACHA) issued a position statement that encourages all colleges and universities to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100% indoor and outdoor campus-wide smoke-free environment.

Over the next few months, GW will be working with students and employees who wish to break their addiction to tobacco products by providing smoking cessation support. The George Washington University offers several tobacco cessation programs to students, faculty, staff and family members. In June GW began offering students, faculty and staff free telephonic coaching and up to eight weeks of over the counter nicotine replacement therapy at no cost. Additional information is available by calling GW's Quit Line at 202-994-QUIT or online on the Smoking Cessation Support Page.

Quit For Life Program

Interested in quitting smoking? The Quit For Life® Program is available to all students, faculty, and staff, as well as spouses, and their adult dependents age 18 and older. The university is covering the cost of the program and nicotine replacement therapy, including the patch or gum.