Tobacco-Free FAQ

Tobacco-Free University

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why is the University of Nevada, Reno concerned about tobacco?

We care about your health.

The University of Nevada, Reno has a responsibility to our students, faculty and staff to provide a safe and healthful learning environment. Research findings show that tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke constitute a significant health hazard. In addition to its direct impact on the health of a community, tobacco use contributes to college costs in other ways, such as absenteeism, health care and medical insurance. The University is making strides to provide policy, education and programs to improve the overall health of our community. Tobacco-free policies can have a positive impact in reducing adverse impacts from tobacco use. According to recent research, the following benefits have been attributed to the implementation of tobacco-free policies:

  • Decrease smoking initiation among young adults
  • Decrease progression to established smoking
  • Increase the probability of young adult smoking cessation
  • Promote a tobacco-free norm which can influence adult smoking behavior
  • Lead to less smoking among adults in the workplace
  • Employees in workplaces with tobacco-free policies are almost twice as likely to stop using tobacco as those who work where tobacco use is allowed


Other benefits of a tobacco-free policy include a reduction in fire hazards, cleaner grounds, cost savings in grounds maintenance and clean air, all of which support the University's sustainability efforts.

Why should universities be tobacco free?

In growing numbers, worksites, restaurants, public buildings, shopping malls, healthcare and transportation facilities are 100 percent tobacco-free. The University of Nevada, Reno plans to join the ranks of nearly 1,200 colleges and universities that have adopted a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy. Colleges are invested, not only in academic achievement, but also in developing life skills that will promote individual and community wellness. Good health is as important as academic skills in future growth and success.

Colleges are also the hub of medical, behavioral, and social research. Much of this research is aimed at improving health and healthy behaviors. The University of Nevada, Reno is providing education to the future public health and healthcare workforce. It is important that the University complement these research and educational efforts with policy that reflects similar values. 

Will the Tobacco-Free University policy include all tobacco products?

Yes, the plan is for the policy to include all tobacco products. Tobacco is defined as all tobacco-derived products, including, but not limited to; cigarettes, cigars, hookah-smoked products, spit and smokeless tobacco, chew, snuff, snus, clove cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, cigarillos and other smoked products. 

To whom does this policy apply?

The Tobacco-Free University policy will pertain to students, faculty and staff, contractors and visitors to University-owned campuses and locations and will be implemented within the parameters of applicable laws. Its successful implementation will require planning, collaboration, empathy and understanding.  

When will the policy go into effect?

The University is planning to implement a Tobacco-Free University policy effective August 1, 2015. During the upcoming year, the University will develop an implementation plan and build resources for individuals who may choose to quit using tobacco products.

What is an implementation plan?

An implementation plan will be a document that guides us through the year prior to the start of the policy and beyond. The University will assemble a diverse team of individuals from campus in spring 2014 and we will follow a model that has been successfully used on other campuses: Tell, Treat, Train.

  • Tell - Educate students, prospective students, faculty, staff, visitors and community members about the policy through a variety of communication tools. Provide opportunities for input from the University community;
  • Treat - Build and market cessation resources including classes, hotlines, nicotine replacement therapy, and quit kits;
  • Train- Provide training to supervisors, faculty, administrators and student leaders on the policy and how to encourage compliance.


I'm concerned with the rights of individuals who use tobacco.

The University is not taking away the right to use tobacco. The University is not requiring that people quit using tobacco. People may continue with the choice to use tobacco while not at the University. We will support and encourage those who do commit to a tobacco-free lifestyle and we will ask for everyone's respect of the policy.

Will this affect many University of Nevada, Reno students?

We will respect all individuals in this process, both non-tobacco users and tobacco users. We understand this policy will be a challenge for some individuals and we want to help. The reality is that most University of Nevada, Reno students do not smoke or use tobacco. The University conducts a large survey of our students called the National College Health Assessment. Our students consistently report low tobacco use rates. Over 85 percent of our students are already smoke and tobacco free. 

Will there be cessation programs available for students, faculty and staff?

The University acknowledges this is a big change for tobacco users on campus. While the institution is enthusiastic about taking another step toward promoting a healthy environment for those who work, study, and visit here, we also are mindful of the members of our community who will be personally challenged by this policy. That is why the University has increased its commitment to faculty, staff and students who want to quit. The following is a list of current cessation resources; however, we plan to build additional resources this year:

For students, faculty and staff:

  • Nevada Tobacco Users Help Line 1-800-784-8669
  • American Lung Association  www.lung.org
  • Become an Ex www.becomeanex.org
  • For information on Tobacco Cessation, contact the Student Health Center at 775-784-6598

For faculty and staff:

  • The Public Employee Benefits Program, through its Wellness Benefit, covers different options for cessation. For more information, please call the Public Health Employee Benefits Program at 775-684-7000 or 800-326-5496, or visit the website at http://www.pebp.state.nv.us/.

Who will enforce this policy?

It is the responsibility of all members of the University to adhere to this policy. It is expected that students, faculty, staff, University affiliates, contractors and visitors to the University comply with this policy. Members of the University community are empowered to respectfully inform others about the policy in an ongoing effort to enhance awareness and encourage compliance.

Adoption of this policy requires the courtesy, respect and cooperation of all members of the University of Nevada, Reno community. The foundation of enforcement will be education and awareness. Throughout this year, we will take every opportunity to provide education on the policy to students, faculty, staff and members of the community. Other universities have demonstrated success with this model of enforcement through education and awareness.

If someone is seen using tobacco on University property, any individual may inform the tobacco user of this policy and request that he/she comply. If the individual does not comply, details of the policy violation can be channeled through the appropriate department.

What process was involved in making this decision?

It was imperative that the policy move forward with the support of the campus community. Throughout the last year, we have provided education in the form of presentations, discussion and print materials to various groups that represent the campus community. Each of these groups had the opportunity to consider the information and make a decision regarding their support of the policy. It is with great pride that we can say these groups have provided formal support of the policy. The groups include:

  • Associated Students of the University of Nevada
  • Graduate Student Association
  • Staff Employee Council
  • Faculty Senate


Will people be able to smoke in their own vehicles within the smoke-free campus? 

No. At the University, we will ask that there be no smoking in vehicles.

How will people know where they can and cannot smoke?

The Tobacco-Free University policy will pertain to all University-owned campuses and locations and will be implemented within the perimeters of applicable laws. The Implementation Team will determine how to best communicate the specific boundaries to faculty, staff, students and visitors. Signage and maps are possibilities. We expect that details will be available by mid-fall.

Will there be designated smoking areas on campus?

No. Tobacco will be prohibited on all campus grounds. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Establishing designated smoking areas undermines the new policy. The purpose of the policy is to create a health-supporting community for everyone, tobacco-users and non-users alike. Creating smoking areas does not contribute to that purpose.
  2. Smoking zones and perimeter policies have not been found to be effective or enforceable, and 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.


What about football games, concerts or other public events?

All events occurring on campus-owned property will be covered by the tobacco-free policy. The Implementation Team is exploring how to best communicate this to those attending public events on the campus.

Do you have additional questions?

Do you have a question that we did not address in this FAQ? We would like to hear from you. Please send your questions to Enid Jennings at ejennings@unr.edu and we will work to address it.

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