NEW YORK, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- City University of New York, the largest urban higher-education system in the country, has voted to forbid smoking on its 23 campuses, officials said.
It joins the University of Buffalo and Columbia University in the state in banning campus smoking, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The CUNY ban, however, won't kick in officially for another 20 months.
A surge of smoking bans on college campuses is being seen across the country, and the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, a non-profit advocacy group, says at least 466 campuses have completely banned smoking or have passed resolutions to do so.
At the University of Michigan, a smoking ban for its Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses will go into effect July 1, The Detroit News reported.
Advocates and public health experts say campus anti-smoking rules send an important early message to young people about healthy lifestyles.
"It makes a lot of sense," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of the non-smokers' foundation, based in Berkeley, Calif. "My daughter is going off to college this year, and the campus is a student's new home and work and play environment."
CUNY officials say the ban will go into effect in September 2012, giving its campuses time to conduct educational campaigns, put up no-smoking signs and hire counselors to help smokers quit.