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SUNY Potsdam Campus Moves to Become 100 Percent Tobacco-Free

August 1, 2019

The State University of New York at Potsdam Prohibits All Tobacco Use on Campus, to Promote the Health & Wellness of Campus Community

Effective today, The State University of New York at Potsdam is now a 100 percent tobacco-free campus. Beginning immediately, no tobacco use will be allowed within buildings or on grounds owned or leased by the College.

SUNY Potsdam has taken this step to help promote and protect the wellness of its students, employees and visitors. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that tobacco-free campus policies are effective in reducing the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, helping prevent tobacco initiation, and promoting cessation.

In 1990, the Clean Indoor Air Act required that stringent regulations governing smoking be implemented in indoor areas open to the public, including at colleges and universities. In 2012, the SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution directing all SUNY campuses to begin the work necessary to be tobacco free. As a result, SUNY Potsdam became a tobacco-restricted campus, with a limited number of designated use areas. Now, the College is taking action to become 100 percent tobacco-free.

The expanded policy covers all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, hookah-smoked products, electronic smoking devices/electronic cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, electronic aerosol delivery systems, smokeless tobacco and snuff. Sale of tobacco products on campus is prohibited. The College will not accept advertising, marketing, distribution or promotion of tobacco or electronic cigarette/electronic aerosol delivery device products.

The Chancellor and the Board of Trustees of the SUNY system have announced their commitment to making all SUNY campuses tobacco-free, with the end goal of making this generation of college graduates healthier. In addition to the SUNY System support for tobacco-free campuses, a recent campus-wide survey indicates that the SUNY Potsdam campus supports outdoor tobacco policies.

“I understand this 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy will pose a hardship for some, but after considerable discussion with many on campus, and given everything we know about the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke, it is essential for us to take this step,” President Kristin G. Esterberg said.

As SUNY Potsdam begins to implement the new policy, new signage is being posted across campus and all ash receptacles are being removed. Campus community members will be holding organized events to pick up loose litter and raise awareness about making the campus healthier.

The College is also working in partnership with the Seaway Valley Prevention Council to help campus community members access tobacco cessation resources. SVPC, which sponsors the Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities and Reality Check projects in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties, will be tabling on campus throughout the semester, to speak with employees, students and visitors about the dangers of tobacco use and their options for quitting.

“Preventing tobacco use is one of the most important public health actions that we can take as a society—as tobacco use is the leading cause of illness and death. Through our combined efforts on prevention, education and access to cessation resources, we are glad to partner with SUNY Potsdam to help the next generation of graduates lead healthier, longer lives. We also hope to educate and engage with the broader community at the same time,” said Hannah Leeder, community engagement coordinator for the Seaway Valley Prevention Council.

SUNY Potsdam received a grant through the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative in 2017-18, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the CVS Health Foundation and the Truth Initiative. The initiative is designed to reduce the number of people who get sick and die from tobacco-related diseases by reducing tobacco use among college students. The Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative helps colleges and universities become 100 percent tobacco-free. To learn more, visit

For more information on the new policy, and to access cessation resources, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

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