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Green River recognized for tobacco-free initiative

Our efforts earlier this year to transition to a smoke-free campus have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Green River College the Fresh Air Gold Campus Award for its implementation of a tobacco-free policy. The award is the highest level of achievement granted by the department's Fresh Air Campus Challenge.

Green River adopted a policy on Jan. 1 that made all of its campuses tobacco-free. The policy was adopted after a year-long outreach and education effort to evaluate the College's reception to a tobacco-free policy. The College was the fourth Washington state community college and ninth college in the state to become entirely tobacco free.

"This recognition honors the entire college community for its members' efforts to become 100 percent tobacco-free," said Green River president Dr. Eileen Ely. "Our goal was to create a healthier environment for all of us."

The goal of the HHS Region X Fresh Air Campus Challenge is for all colleges and universities in its area to be smoke or tobacco free by the end of 2016. Region X covers Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

"I would like to congratulate and thank you for taking this important step in fighting to protect current and future generations from the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke," said Patrick O'Carroll, HHS Region X assistant surgeon general and regional health administrator in a letter accompanying the award.

At least 1,159 college campuses in the United States had adopted a 100 percent smoke or tobacco-free policies as of April, according to Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

Green River also offers many on-campus resources to help you quit smoking once and for all.