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Fresh Air Campus Challenge at Colleges in the Northwest

Portland State University has announced its participation in the Fresh Air Campus Challenge, making it one of the first college campuses in the region pledging to adopt a smoke- or tobacco-free policy.

Portland State University has pledged to participate in the Fresh Air Campus Challenge.Colleges throughout the Pacific Northwest are invited to partner with health organizations to implement policy for smoke- or tobacco-free campuses.

February 28, 2013

Portland State University has announced its participation in the Fresh Air Campus Challenge, making it one of the first college campuses in the region pledging to adopt a smoke- or tobacco-free policy. The announcement serves as the regional launch of the Challenge, which invites institutions of higher education in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to partner with local, state, and national health organizations to begin the process of developing a policy. The Challenge’s ultimate goal is for all campuses in the region to be 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free by 2016.

“Our goal is to protect everyone on our busy urban campus from the harmful health effects of tobacco, second-hand smoke and other pollutants,” said Jackie Balzer, PSU’s vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

In Oregon, tobacco use is responsible for almost 7,000 deaths per year and costs the state $2.4 billion annually in direct medical costs and lost productivity due to early death. Students and administrators at PSU are assessing tobacco issues on campus and working with the City of Portland to move toward a smoke-free campus. In January, PSU established a Clean Air Corridor, a five-block stretch in the heart of campus where smoking is prohibited.

Dr. Howard K. Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services commented, saying “Issuing the Fresh Air Campus Challenge to schools in the Pacific Northwest brings us one step closer to a world where tobacco-related illness is uncommon and lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the country, is rare.”

Take the Challenge!

Already, more than 60 college campuses throughout the Pacific Northwest have gone smoke or tobacco free. College and university leaders can join the Fresh Air Campus Challenge by completing the commitment form. To learn more about the Challenge or resources available to participants, contact Molly Reece.

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