Tobacco Free Campus FAQ

Updated May 9, 2016

Background

Effective August 1, 2016, Missouri S&T will join more than 1,000 other colleges and universities in the U.S. by becoming a tobacco-free campus. The campus announced this news on May 6, 2016 (see news release). The new policy is available for viewing and download from this website (click on policy III-53). The following frequently asked questions are designed to inform you of the reasons for this decision, the details of the transition to a tobacco-free campus, and the resources that are available to help individuals who wish to become tobacco-free. 

 

Why is Missouri S&T going tobacco-free and smoke-free?

Missouri S&T is dedicated to providing a safe environment in which to learn, work, teach and conduct research. The research is clear that tobacco use, including smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, constitutes a significant health hazard. As a university, we recognize our responsibility to promote a healthy environment to protect the current and future health of students, faculty, staff and visitors.

 

Do employees, students and visitors have to quit using tobacco products?

No. Missouri S&T is not asking anyone to quit. This policy simply means no one can use tobacco products on or in S&T property and grounds.

 

What resources are available to help me quit smoking or chewing?

Missouri S&T’s Human Resource Services website provides links to numerous resources to help people stop using tobacco. Many are available as free or low-cost online tools or smartphone apps.

 

When does the new policy take effect?

The new policy takes effect on August 1, 2016.

 

What will be prohibited under this new policy?

The use of any tobacco-derived or tobacco-containing products is prohibited on campus. Prohibited products include but are not limited to:

  • Cigarettes
  • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and vapes
  • Cigars and cigarillos
  • Hookah-smoked products
  • Pipes
  • Oral tobacco (spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snus)
  • Nasal tobacco (such as snuff)

The policy also prohibits the use of any product intended to mimic tobacco products or the smoking (inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying a lighted smoking product) of any other substance.

 

Why does this policy include smokeless tobacco, vapors, e-cigarettes and hookahs?

There are no safe tobacco products. Traditional combustible tobacco products are well known to have adverse health risks and produce carcinogens. Additionally, the surgeon general has determined that there are no safe levels of second-hand tobacco smoke exposure. Electronic nicotine delivery systems, including electronic cigarettes and vapor, may not emit the same combustible carcinogens, but they are suspected to carry their own health risks. There are also suspected health risks associated with the flavoring, devices and delivery chemicals for e-cigs and vapes that require further study. Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued new rules regulating the sale of e-cigs and vapes. These products are not safe alternatives to smoking. In addition, the spitting involved with smokeless products is unsanitary and a possible vehicle of disease. FDA-approved tobacco products used for smoking cessation, such as nicotine gums and patches, will be allowed under the policy.

 

What areas of campus are affected by this policy?

This policy applies to all buildings, grounds and land owned or leased by Missouri S&T. It also applies to all vehicles owned, leased or rented by the university, regardless of whether these vehicles are on university grounds or land.

 

Does this policy apply to all university-approved housing, such as residence halls, fraternities and sororities?

This policy applies to all buildings and facilities located on land owned or leased by Missouri S&T, except for privately owned housing located on land owned by the university. This policy applies to all residence halls, including residence halls leased by the university. However, fraternity and sorority houses that are located on university property but are privately owned (by the fraternity corporation, for example) are not covered by this policy.

 

Are there any exceptions to this policy?

Under certain conditions, one-time exceptions to the policy may be allowed upon the prior approval of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. These may include:

  • Theatrical productions where the use of tobacco products in integral to the performance or production; and
  • Approved scientific studies involving the use of tobacco.

 

Do students want this change?

According to the 2015 Missouri College Health Behavior Survey, only 15 percent of Missouri S&T students smoke on a daily basis. Over 71 percent of students believe that S&T should have smoke-free outdoor areas and 88 percent of students who currently smoke want to quit. (MCHBS 2015 n=421)

 

Don't I have the "right" to use tobacco?

Tobacco use is a privilege. “Right to smoke” claims have been consistently rejected by the courts. People do have a right to breathe clean air. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects those with breathing and other disorders. The tobacco-free policy is consistent with our desire to create a healthy campus environment for all; it is not an anti-tobacco issue. Tobacco use is a legal product for adults. The policy is not asking anyone to quit. However, the university owns campus property, and can establish policies that protect the health of all campus members. A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; it merely establishes where use can occur.

 

How will this help students prepare for the workforce?

Adopting tobacco-free workplace policies is a wise business decision. Establishing tobacco-free workplaces is the simplest and most cost-effective way to improve worker and business health. Tobacco use results in huge costs to employers. Tobacco users consume more health care resources, experience greater absenteeism, and tend to be less productive while at work. As employers look at the bottom line, tobacco-free workplaces will continue to be implemented. By providing a tobacco-free campus, Missouri S&T will prepare students to enter a workforce where smoke-free and tobacco-free policies are common.

 

Can I still take a smoke break?

University policy (HR-503) provides all employees with two 15-minute rest periods, to be designated by the university, during the normal work day. After this policy takes effect, employees who use tobacco products may not use these products on university grounds during their designated rest periods. Employees must leave campus grounds to use tobacco products during this time or any other time. If you use tobacco, please be respectful of property adjacent to campus and dispose of your used tobacco products appropriately.

 

Where will I be able to smoke?

No tobacco products may be used on campus property. Smokers and other users of tobacco products must leave campus grounds in order to use these products.

 

Will there be designated smoking areas (for example, smoking shelters)?

Designated smoking areas are not consistent with the policy. The purpose of the tobacco-free policy is to create a healthy environment in which to live, work and learn. Creating smoking areas sends a message that tobacco use is acceptable; rather, the university promotes healthy lifestyles and provides assistance for students and employees who are ready to quit and for those who need to manage their addiction symptoms while on campus. Second, designated smoking areas create confusion and are a compliance challenge. Rarely do people comply with designated smoking areas, so the "area" expands more and more. Designated areas have not been found to be effective or enforceable. Smoking shelters are expensive to construct and maintain. Campuses with full tobacco-free policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than policies that include smoking areas.

 

Can I use tobacco in a personal vehicle while on campus?

Tobacco use is prohibited in all S&T-operated parking areas, and when on S&T property, both inside and outside of vehicles.

 

What will happen if I violate the policy?

Individuals are encouraged to practice peer enforcement of this policy. When a member of the campus community (a student, staff member or faculty member) encounters someone violating the policy, it is recommended that the campus community member politely inform the violator that Missouri S&T is a tobacco-free campus and request that the individual not use tobacco while on campus.

Violations of this policy may be reported to the Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration. Violations will then be addressed by the appropriate authority, supervisor or administrator.

 

Missouri S&T has a large volume of campus visitors. What can we do to let them know that smoking isn't allowed in some of the places they are lighting up, without creating a poor impression?

Other states with high visitor rates, such as California, New York and Massachusetts, have strict clean air policies. The majority of campuses in Missouri also have tobacco-free policies. Many people may already expect businesses and campuses to provide a tobacco-free environment. Campus signage informing visitors of the policy will remind visitors that tobacco use on campus is prohibited.

 

Where can I find the official policy online?

The official policy is available on this website (click on policy III-53).