Support a Smoke-Free USC sign now

The University of Southern California (USC) is committed to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive environment for its students, faculty, and staff. However, USC's ongoing tolerance of tobacco sales and use on campus is contrary to the University's commitment and infringes upon students, faculty and staff's freedom to breathe in a smoke-free environment. Furthermore, by allowing the sale of tobacco products on its campus, USC indirectly endorses an industry that is actively causing millions of deaths worldwide every year. Secondhand smoke alone causes tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year, and USC should do its part to help reduce this toll.

We support a smoke-free USC on the following grounds:

1) The freedom of non-smokers to move around campus without exposure to secondhand smoke is a fundamental right. Students should be able to walk from their dorms to the classroom and around main campus without holding their breath or avoiding walkways with cigarette smoke. Students should also be able to leave their windows open without fearing the risk of smoke entering their places of residence. Scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate "adverse effects on the heart and respiratory systems and increases the severity of asthma attacks, especially in children" (Surgeon General's Report, 2006). We ask that USC protect and promote the health of its faculty, student, and staff population by adopting a smoke-free campus policy.

2) More than 160 U.S. colleges and universities have rejected the tobacco industry in the interest of health by adopting smoke-free campus policies with exemptions for remote outdoor areas; 260 have adopted 100\% smoke-free policies with no exemptions. Educational institutions across the country, public and private, are increasingly going smoke-free. We acknowledge that USC has an obligation as a leading institution to recognize and rise to this standard of health promotion and health rights.

4) The University's responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles in its community is contradicted by the sale and promotion of tobacco products on its campus. In California alone, more than 26 colleges and universities, including UCLA and UC Berkeley, have adopted official policies banning the sales and promotion of tobacco products on their campuses. In order to promote a healthier community and ensure USC's reputation as a progressive institution endures, we firmly oppose the sale, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products on campus.

We are committed to improving the quality of life and establishing a truly safe environment at USC by protecting our health and the health of our peers from the hazards of tobacco use and secondhand smoke through our support of a smoke-free USC. Out of concern for the health rights of our community, we support the following tobacco-free policy for our campus that:

* Advocates healthy living and takes an ethical stance against the deceptive and harmful practices of the tobacco industry by prohibiting the sale, marketing, and promotion of tobacco products on campus.

* Designates the entire University Park Campus and Health Sciences Campus as 100\% smoke-free.

* Promotes and provides quality tobacco cessation programs, services, and products for those who wish to quit smoking.

We, the faculty, students and staff of the USC community, call on the University to ensure that USC's policies actively promote a tobacco-free USC.

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Lorene MiddletonBy:
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The University of Southern California


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