Auburn University will be smoke-free beginning August 21, 2013

1. Auburn University buildings have been smoke-free for many years. What led to the expansion of the policy to cover all University grounds?

In April 2010, a student letter was sent to the President advocating for making the campus smoke-free. The president asked the Campus Health and Wellness Advisory Committee to work with campus constituents and evaluate the university’s smoking policy. A task force was formed and conducted research on national best practices and held campus-wide conversations to gather input from all student and employee governance groups. A recommendation was made for the university to become a smoke-free campus and the Student Government Association, the University Senate, the A&P Assembly, and the Staff Council passed a resolution.

2. Is the University requiring that people quit smoking?

No. The University is saying that smoking will not be allowed on University grounds. For those people who choose to quit smoking, the University will support them through the smoking cessation programs. More information about smoking cessation can be found at http://auburn.edu/smokefree

3. What are the borders of the smoke-free environment?

The grounds of the Auburn University campus will be smoke free, as will the grounds of any facilities owned or leased to or managed by the University. The ban does not extend outside the perimeter of the Auburn University campus as defined in the policy. For more information please see the Smoke-Free Campus Map.

4. Can I smoke in my own vehicle within the smoke-free environment?

Yes. Smoking is permitted in private vehicles parked on the Auburn University campus. All parking structures and parking lots are included in the smoke-free campus, but the ban does not include inside private enclosed vehicles parked in those lots, provided windows are rolled up. Smoking is banned in any University owned or leased vehicle.

5. Will there be smoking huts or designated smoking areas?

No. The University will not provide places for smokers to congregate. Smoking is permitted in personal vehicles. See map detailing boundaries of the Smoke-Free Campus. This provides those who continue to smoke with accessible areas in which to smoke.

6. Is smoke-less tobacco banned?

No. It is not included in the policy.

7. Are electronic cigarettes included?

The use of electronic or e-cigarettes is prohibited and included in the smoke-free campus policy.

8. How will Auburn University tell visitors about the smoke-free campus?

Much of our communication effort will be focused on visitors and the off-campus community. There will be signs alerting visitors to the policy.

9. Will there be signs to tell people they can’t smoke?

There will be a signs placed at strategic locations to help visitors understand the new policy.

10. Does this include property that the University leases?

Yes, although implementation may need to be tailored to individual properties. If Auburn University owns or leases an entire building, the building and ground will be smoke-free, just as it would be if the building were contained on central campus.

11. What will Auburn University do with the ashtrays outside buildings?

They will be moved away from buildings and some will be relocated to the perimeter sidewalks.

12. What will the new policy mean for owners of property adjacent to campus?

If smokers choose to smoke outside the perimeter of campus litter could be left behind by smokers. In some cases, the University will be moving cigarette butt containers to the perimeter sidewalks to help address this concern. The University is committed to monitoring the impact on adjacent properties as the smoke-free campus is implemented.

13. How will the policy be enforced?

We are an institution of higher education and education will be key to implementing this policy. It is the responsibility of all University members to abide by this policy. Supervisory oversight and voluntary compliance should be relied upon to lead to behavioral changes over time. We will make people aware of the smoke-free environment through posters, signage, notices in event programs and advertising and we will seek voluntary compliance. An explanation of the smoke-free campus will be included in the orientation program for new employees and in materials distributed to all outside groups that use University facilities.

14. What if people don’t abide by the policy?

For visitors, we believe reminders about the smoke-free campus will be important and we expect that will happen naturally. For students and employees we expect to deal with any repeat offenders in the same way that violation of any other University policy is handled. Repeated student smoking violations will be directed to the Office of Student Conduct. For staff, Auburn University Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual that references smoking will be updated to reflect the smoke-free campus.

15. What about exceptions to the policy?

Smoking in University facilities will be permitted for controlled research, educational, theatrical, or religious ceremonial purposes, with prior approval of the Dean or Director responsible for the facility.  Additionally, smoking will be permitted in privately owned vehicles.

19. What resources are there on campus to help those who want to quit smoking?

Auburn University is committed to providing members of the Auburn University Family the support and resources necessary to quit smoking. Information can be found at http://auburn.edu/smokefree

18. How will this change make a difference?

There are immediate and positive health effects when any individual quits smoking. There are organizational improvements that can accompany a change like this – reduced absenteeism, greater productivity on the job, and reduced medical and disability costs to name a few. We are also working University-wide to promote a culture of health and wellness, and this fits into that philosophy. We hope that the policy will translate into more members of our community quitting smoking — there is a high likelihood of that — and more of the younger members of the community not starting to smoke. Both will be significant health-promoting contributions. Encouraging a healthy environment also helps us address our rising health care costs.

17. Have other universities gone smoke-free on the whole campus?

Yes, some as early as 2003, and the number keeps increasing. As of April 2013, there were at least 1150 smoke-free college and university campuses across the United States. In the SEC, the Universities of Arkansas, Florida, Ole Miss, Missouri and Kentucky are smoke-free.

16. Who will monitor the effectiveness of this policy?

The Campus Health and Wellness Committee will monitor the policy. The committee chair is appointed by the University president and membership includes faculty, staff and student representatives as well as others from specific offices on campus.

For updates about Auburn University’s effort to create a healthier and cleaner smoke-free campus please follow @SmokeFreeAU on Twitter.