While cigarette sales decrease nationwide, fewer students at the University of Cincinnati are smoking, according to reports from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the American College Health Association (ACHA).
Of 799 respondents, 22 percent of UC students reported to having smoked cigarettes within the last 30 days, according to a spring 2013 report from the ACHA.
However, the latest spring 2016 ACHA report, which garnered 950 respondents, shows that number is down to nearly 11 percent.
Less than 1 percent of UC students used e-cigarettes regularly for 10 or more days in a row, according to the spring 2016 ACHA report. There is no comparison data for e-cigarettes from the 2013 report.
Undergraduate Student Body President Mitchell Phelps said he was not surprised by the decline in smoking among students.
“Our culture has been growing to be more health conscious, and smoking cigarettes has increasingly been pegged and proven to be an unhealthy activity,” Phelps said.
The latest figures from the FTC show that the largest cigarette companies in the U.S. experienced a drop in sales from 2013-2014, according to a report by WCPO.
In the U.S., there were 257.7 billion cigarettes sold in 2013, while 253.8 billion cigarettes were sold in 2014, according to the same report. Promotional money spent also decreased by more than 5 percent.
While the latest Smokeless Tobacco Report shows smokeless tobacco sales slightly declined from 128 million pounds in 2013 to 127.8 million pounds in 2014, sales revenues increased from $3.26 billion to $3.42 billion, according to WCPO.
It appears Americans — and college students — may be moving toward making healthier lifestyle choices.
UC’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolutions bill in October 2015 supporting a tobacco-free initiative on campus.
By February 2016, former UC President Santa Ono approved the smoke-free policy and implementation committee, officially adopting a tobacco-free campus initiative.
The UC Board of Trustees voted in August to restrict tobacco on all of UC’s campuses by May 1, 2017.
“From my perspective, students have not been too worried about the tobacco-free UC movement beginning spring 2017,” Phelps said. “I have noticed that students have been conscious of their peers that are from cultures where tobacco smoking is a part of their culture. I think that sensitivity to fellow Bearcats is beautiful.”
Phelps said the tobacco-free UC committee is creating programs, plans and initiatives to help those who currently use tobacco.
The ban covers all tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, hookahs and e-cigarettes. “No tobacco use” signage will be posted around appropriate locations, according to the resolution approved by the Board of Trustees. Announcements of the rule will be made during university sponsored events and campus functions.
The movement to make UC tobacco free has been in progress since early 2012, when SG reviewed polls showing support for tobacco restrictions on campus.
Neighboring Ohio and Kentucky schools are already successfully tobacco free, including Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Miami University and Ohio State University. UC Health has already enforced its own tobacco-free policies for years.