Smoking rates among Albertans and Canadians aged 20- to 24 is the highest out of any age group in Canada, which is why the non-profit group Action on Smoking and Health, or ASH, is shining the spotlight on two post-secondary institutions who have strong anti-smoking policies which covers tobacco, vaping, and the future of legalized marijuana.
Bow Valley College in Calgary, and Burman University here in Lacombe were both honored with a high rating from ASH, a group that helps to publicize the risks associated with smoking.
Communications Coordinator with Burman Kryzia Abacan says anti-smoking policies already implemented in the school also cover vaping, as well as the upcoming legalization of marijuana.
“Due to our religious affiliation with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, we do have a thorough policy preventing tobacco use on our campus, and we also do not accept direct corporate sponsorship from cigarette or tobacco companies, so that resulted in our “A” grade from ASH.”
Executive Director of ASH Les Hagen says although vaping isn't the same as smoking cigarettes, it's all about leaving the wrong impression on vulnerable minds.
“To a 5-year-old, smoking is smoking, whether a 5-year-old sees someone vaping, or smoking cannabis or smoking tobacco, it’s all the same, it’s all smoking. And it all represents modeling smoking behaviour to that 5-year-old, and we know kids are very impressionable, in fact modeling is an essential element to childhood development…the more we can do collectively to prevent kids from smoking the better.”
Both Burman and Bow Valley College received an A rating from the group, the only two in Canada to do so.
No institution with a formal tobacco or smoking policy received an “F”.