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Tobacco Policy Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we a Tobacco and Smoke-Free University?

The health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors is a top priority for Tulane University. In 2010, the Surgeon General of the United States declared tobacco use remains 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, Tulane has adopted this policy to encourage tobacco users to reduce or eliminate their consumption and to protect non-smokers from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Why is the use of e-cigarettes on Tulane’s campus banned?

E-cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices just like cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. They operate by vaporizing the nicotine so that it is ready for inhalation. The product has not been around long enough for the medical community to determine whether or not these products are safe. France, Panama, Uruguay, and Colombia prohibit the use of e-cigarettes wherever a cigarette ban is in place. Precautionary steps should be taken with these devices in lieu of their safety because they do mimic smoking cigarettes and could lead to actual cigarette use.

Why was smoking selected versus other health risks to address?

Tobacco is the only product that, when used as intended, leads to serious illness and premature death. Consider the facts:

Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity (disease and illness) and premature mortality (death) worldwide.
Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 438,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of “secondhand” exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens. Source: American Lung Association


What areas of campus does the policy cover?

The policy applies to all university property, other properties owned or leased by the university, and all university leased or owned vehicles. The policy also includes property including parking lots and sidewalks. This policy does not apply to public rights-of-way (sidewalks and streets such as Freret, Broadway, and Willow) on the perimeter of any campus location.

What about smoking on sidewalks on and around campus?

Tulane University controls all sidewalks on campus. This policy does not apply to public rights-of-way (sidewalks, streets such as Freret, Broadway, and Willow) on the perimeter of any campus location.

How is the policy enforced?

The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers.  Faculty, staff, and students have a collective responsibility to promote the safety and health of the campus community and therefore share in the responsibility of enforcement. Individuals observed smoking are to be reminded in a professional and courteous manner of the university policy. Tulane reserves the right to initiate disciplinary procedures against any individual found to be in violation of this policy. TUPD officers enforce the policy and issue citations that include a $25 fine. There is a process for students to go through the Office of Student Conduct, and a process for staff and faculty issues to be addressed.

What about Tulane’s neighbors?

Tulane asks our students and employees to help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors. Tulane believes that the members of its community who choose to use tobacco will do so respectfully by means of keeping litter and smoke away from neighboring properties.

Isn’t tobacco use a personal, legal right?

Court rulings maintain that tobacco users do not have the legal right to expose others to second-hand smoke, a Class A carcinogen, and they are not entitled to protection against discrimination as "addicts".

Was there an impact on enrollment when the campus went tobacco and smoke-free?

It is anticipated that the promotion of Tulane University as an active, vibrant, healthy campus community increases interest in university enrollment. In general, a Tobacco and Smoke-Free Policy is seen as a positive move. Most businesses see increases in revenue when they go smoke-free.

Why are sanctions not listed for employees?

TUPD can issue a citation and fine to any faculty, staff, or student in violation of the policy. The fine is $25. Any student, faculty, or staff member engaging in conduct that violates any rule, regulation, policy, procedure, or practice of the University may be subject to disciplinary action. Any staff violation will be reported to the person’s supervisor and faculty violations will be reported to their dean. Supervisors and deans will then take necessary action to deal with the violation based on current University policy.

Why do we think sanctions would work now since we have a policy in place stating the feet a smoker must be away from a building? That policy is broken daily and I know of no examples where a staff member or student has been cited. Why do we think a more restrictive policy would be enforced?

There are numerous reasons why designated smoking areas have been found not to work; tobacco users don’t stay in those areas, nor does second-hand smoke.  Current research consistently supports the need for enforcement of the policy in order for lasting change to occur. Despite having an enacted smoking policy since 2008, no changes have occurred in the amount of second-hand smoke exposure on campus. Individuals have no reason to smoke in a designated area as there are no repercussions for not doing so.

By eliminating smoking areas, TUPD has agreed to issue citations with a fine to anyone smoking within the confines of campus.

How does this impact other campus locations, like the Primate Center or Elmwood?

This policy affects all Tulane campuses and locations including the Primate Center, the Health Sciences Center, the Hebert Center, Elmwood, Maple St., the campus in Madison, MS, and other satellite locations. It is the responsibility of all locations to enforce the policy to the best of their ability. However, some locations have limitations, such as being located on public streets or in buildings that are not owned by Tulane. All locations should work with the dean, director, or management to ensure they are as close to compliance as possible. This policy does not apply to public rights-of-way (sidewalks, streets) on the perimeter of any campus location.