It is well documented that certain communities and populations are targeted by tobacco marketing which works to create “pro-tobacco” norms and because of this, these communities experience higher rates of tobacco use than non-targeted communities. Such is the case for the arts community where smoking is less about personal behavior and more about personal expression. For many within this community, smoking becomes a characteristic or a part of “who they art” as an individual artist. The problem is compounded by the fact that artists often belong to other groups targeted by tobacco marketing, including young adults (18-24 year olds) and/or Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, or Trans-gender (GLBT) persons. CPPW-funded grant
Cornish is working to prevent art students from making tobacco a part of their artistic identity by creating a culture on campus in which tobacco use is not seen as the norm. This culture shift will not only influence the role of tobacco in students’ lives, but also in the lives of the staff, faculty, and larger arts community. This will be achieved through changes in the social and physical environments.
The main outcome of this project is the implementation of a 100% smoke-free campus policy on January 1, 2012. With support from a campus tobacco advisory committee, Cornish will use input and feedback collected from an all-campus survey to plan and implement the smoke-free policy as well as assess what kinds of support to offer community members interested in quitting tobacco.
Survey findings will also be used to develop a marketing campaign that aims to increase awareness of tobacco issues on campus and de-bunk common tobacco misperceptions. This campaign will also ask students to consider how tobacco use or non-use contributes to their identities and successes as artists. Hopes for the future
Through this work Cornish College of the Arts is not only changing the tobacco norms on campus, but also within the broader arts community. By engaging their students in this issue and demonstrating that tobacco is not required in order to be successful at Cornish or as an artist, Cornish is empowering the next generation of great artists to challenge the role of tobacco in their own lives and within their community. Furthermore, as the first art school in the state and possibly the nation to take such a stance against tobacco, Cornish is setting the bar high and challenging art schools and the arts community locally and nationally to address tobacco use.