Commonly-asked questions about Syracuse University’s Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

Q: Why did Syracuse University become a tobacco-free and smoke-free University?

A: The health and safety of faculty, staff, students and visitors is a top priority for Syracuse University. In 2010, the Surgeon General of the United States declared tobacco use as the nation’s leading preventable cause of premature death and disability. Additionally, there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. To promote a safe and healthful work environment, Syracuse University has adopted this policy to encourage tobacco users to reduce or eliminate their consumption, and to protect nonsmokers from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Q: Why was smoking selected versus other health risks to address?

A: Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and the hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke are well known. A tobacco-free campus is a clear expression of the University’s investment in the health and well-being of its members and in promoting respect for others and our environment. A tobacco-free campus aligns well with the University’s new and ongoing wellness initiatives, and reflects the University’s commitment to accessibility (some are allergic to or cannot tolerate cigarette smoke or smell) and sustainability.

Q: When did the policy go into effect?

A: This policy became effective on July 1, 2015.

Q: What is banned under the new policy?

A: Banned items include Blunts, Chewing Tobacco, Cigarettes, Cigars, Dipping Tobacco, E-cigarettes, Hookah, Queen’s tobacco-pipe, Loose leaf, Shag (tobacco), Smokeless tobacco, Snuff, Snus and Vapers.

Download the PDF Fact Sheet [PDF]

Q: Why is the use of e-cigarettes also banned?

A: E-cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices, just like cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which operate by vaporizing the nicotine so it can be inhaled. There is not enough research currently available to determine the safety of these products.

Q: How can SU justify prohibiting smokeless tobacco when it does not affect the health of those around the individual using the product?

A: Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative. There is a significant burden placed on society when tobacco-users confront health-related issues such as oral cancers. Additionally, spitting that sometimes accompanies smokeless tobacco use is unsanitary.

Q: What areas of campus does the policy cover?

A: The policy prohibits the use of any tobacco product or products that simulate tobacco smoking on properties owned or leased by Syracuse University located in the United States; including The Carrier Dome, Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center, Drumlins and Syracuse Stage as of July 2017.

PDF maps of tobacco free areas on North Campus map [PDF] and South Campus map [PDF].

PDF version of written description of tobacco free areas on North Campus map description [PDF] and South Campus map description [PDF].

**As a gentle reminder, we ask that as good neighbors, we are all respectful and considerate of our local businesses and neighbors.

Q: Are there designated smoking areas on campus?

A: Effective July 1, 2015, Syracuse University is a tobacco-free campus. There are no designated smoking areas on campus.

Q: Why are designated smoking areas not included in this policy?

A: There are two reasons why the University decided not to create designated smoking areas. First, designated smoking areas are not consistent with the policy. The aim of Syracuse University’s tobacco-free policy is to create a healthy environment 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. Experiences on other college campuses and best practice for tobacco policy pointed us in the direction of a comprehensive, campus-wide, tobacco-free policy with no designated smoking areas.

Q: Can I smoke in my personal car?

A: All parking structures and parking lots owned or operated by the University are covered by the tobacco-free policy. The policy also prohibits smoking in University-owned vehicles.

Q: Don’t I have a right to smoke on campus?

A: No, there is no “right” to smoke under either state or federal law. In addition, prohibiting smoking and the use of tobacco products on campus preserves everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air while allowing adults who smoke and use tobacco products to continue to do so off-campus. The decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Q: How is the policy be enforced?

A: Compliance with and enforcement of the policy is the responsibility of each member of the Syracuse University community. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and volunteers are expected to enforce the policy for their facilities and/or sponsored activities. Individuals are encouraged and empowered to inform others respectfully about the policy in an ongoing effort to support others to be tobacco free, promote a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment and encourage a culture of compliance.

Q: How will violations be handled?

A: Faculty, staff and students violating the tobacco-free policy may be subject to University disciplinary action. Visitors and alumni who violate and refuse to comply may be asked to leave campus. Sanctions imposed under this policy do not diminish or replace any penalties available under applicable federal, state and local laws.

Q: What is my responsibility as a campus community member in regard to the tobacco-free policy?

A: Everyone’s responsibility as a campus community member is to comply with this policy in a courteous, respectful and cooperative manner. When people politely approach a person who does not observe the policy, most individuals will comply.

Q: What other colleges and universities ban tobacco use on campus?

A: There are now at least 1,477 smoke-free campuses in the U.S. of these, 975 are tobacco-free.

A complete list of tobacco and smoke free universities is available at No-smoke.org [PDF].

Q: Does the University provide cessation resources?

A: Together, Human Resources, the University’s FSAP and Carebridge offer a variety of tobacco cessation resources to University students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit the University cessation resources tab on this website or email wellness@syr.edu.

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

A: No. We are not saying you must quit smoking. But we are saying you cannot use tobacco while you are on Syracuse University property. If you are ready to quit, we want to support your efforts. Please visit the Tobacco Cessation Resources tab for more information.

Q: Where can I provide feedback on this new policy?

A: Email wellness@syr.edu.