Impact of Smoking at SCC

The Effects

  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.
  • Smoking reduces normal life expectancy by an average of 13 to 15 years.
  • Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
  • Secondhand smoke is responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
  • The Surgeon General of the United States has concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and establishing smoke-free environments is the only proven way to prevent exposure.
  • Smoking contributes to 48,000 deaths a year.

SCC Community

  • Both the 2014 and 2015 surveys indicate support for a smoke-free campus. (2014 = 49%, 2015 = 50% smoke free + 7% smoke and tobacco free = 57%).
  • In response to the degree of positive change on the campus from 2014 to 2015, 54% indicated that it has ‘improved’ or ‘greatly improved’ since designated smoking areas were established in 2014.
  • Although significant progress has been made in making SCC a healthier campus with designated smoking areas, 63% still feel that stronger actions are needed to reduce second hand smoke on campus.
  • Over 50% of respondents would like to see stronger enforcement of the smoking standard, and 51% indicate using fines (money) as the preferred method of enforcement.

The Cost


  • The CDC puts a $3,383 price tag per year on each employee who smokes: $1,760 in lost productivity and$1,623 in excess medical expenditures.
  • Tobacco use is a leading cause of lost productivity. Employees who smoke have almost twice as much lost production time per week than workers who do not smoke.
  • Smokers are absent 50% more than nonsmokers.
  • Costs of employee absences include temporary replacements, and lowered productivity and morale among employees who remain at work.

The Students


  • Nationally, 20% of university and college students smoke. In California, the rate of smoking among community college students rises to 26%.
  • Half or more college smokers say they are ‘social smokers’.
  • Twenty percent of social smokers become daily smokers over the course of a four-year college period.
  • Smoke-free policies have been shown to help students decrease their amount of smoking or help them to quit.

The Solution

  • SCC’s smoke/tobacco free environmental standard reflects the college’s commitment to provide a healthier, safe and productive work and learning environment for the entire campus community.
  • As a public institution of higher education SCC recognizes its responsibility to exercise leadership in the promotion of a healthy, smoke/tobacco-free environment for all students, employees, and visitors system-wide.
  • A comprehensive education and outreach campaign, including resources and referrals for cessation assistance, is available to help individuals quit.


  1. Helfand, D. (2011, August 06). California smoking rate reaches lowest level on record. The Los Angeles Times.
    Retrieved from
  2. Fellows, J. L., Trosclair, A., & Rivera, C. C. (2002). Annual smoking attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs – U.S., 1995-1999. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2335-2356.
  3. Fictenberg, C. M., & Glantz, S. A. (2002). Effect of smoke-free campuses on smoking behavior:Systematic review. British Medical Journal, 325, 188-194.
  4. American Lung Association (2008). Big tobacco on campus: Ending the addiction. Retrieved from
  5. Interview with John Pierce, PhD, head of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of California, San Diego.