Tobacco-Free Policy Q & A
What is UL Lafayette’s tobacco-free policy and when does it take effect?
Effective Aug. 1, 2014, smoking and the use of all tobacco products is prohibited within all University buildings, facilities, campus grounds, University vehicles, and all property that is owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by the University, with limited exceptions. Please review the policy.
Who does the policy affect?
This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, visitors, and contractors.
How will you communicate this policy change to faculty, staff and students?
We had sent an email message in May 2014 to faculty, staff and students and posted the policy draft on the University website asking for comments during a 10-day review period. We will announce the final policy through UL Lafayette’s media outlets. University department heads and directors are responsible for ensuring that this information is communicated to everyone under their supervision. An explanation of the tobacco-free campus policy is to be communicated to prospective and enrolling students and new employees.
How will campus visitors know that UL Lafayette is a tobacco-free institution?
Signage about our tobacco-free campus will be placed on UL Lafayette grounds and buildings in Fall 2014. You can also alert campus visitors about this policy by sending them a link to the UL Lafayette tobacco-free policy, Breatheeasy.Louisiana.edu before their arrival. Additionally, event planners shall be asked to include information about the policy in materials distributed to persons that use University facilities.
Why and how was the policy developed?
State law mandated the smoke-free policy. The tobacco-free policy is a collaborative result of students, staff, faculty and University of Louisiana at Lafayette administration. The UL Lafayette tobacco-free working group engaged individuals and groups both on and off campus throughout the planning process over the course of a year.
Across the United States, an ever-increasing number of colleges and universities are instituting tobacco-free policies. As of April 29, 2014, over 1,300 U.S. universities are smoke-free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Of those, 925 are tobacco-free and 167 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on campus.
How is this policy different from the current policies about smoking and tobacco use?
Previously, those who wished to use tobacco products at UL Lafayette could do so outdoors, at least 25 feet away from any building entrance. This new policy further encourages health and wellness at UL Lafayette by completely prohibiting the use of all tobacco products on UL Lafayette property.
How can I reverse or alter this?
UL Lafayette is committed to complying with state law and supporting a culture of health for students, faculty, staff and visitors. A tobacco-free environment contributes substantially to a healthier environment, which is in line with UL Lafayette’s commitment to health, so we do not intend to reverse it. The policy will be reviewed six (6) months after its initial implementation, and as needed thereafter. Revisions to the policy can result from tobacco-free working group review processes, which can include community feedback and official health advisories.
Isn’t this tobacco-free policy a violation of my civil and constitutional rights?
There is no “right to smoke” under state or federal law. State law mandated the smoke-free policy. UL Lafayette has the authority to govern the use of University property and regulate its use. Smoking in public places produces secondhand smoke, which has been scientifically proven to harm others, even if they do not smoke. If someone wishes to use tobacco products, they may freely do so outside of UL Lafayette’s tobacco-free zones. Though some may choose to use tobacco products off campus, by removing tobacco use from University property, UL Lafayette can better protect those who choose not to smoke from the effects of secondhand smoke, as well as help those who are trying to quit tobacco.
Can I have tobacco on campus, but take it off campus to smoke?
Yes. The University's policy prohibits the use of tobacco products on its campuses; it does not prohibit the possession of legal products.
Why was smokeless tobacco banned?
Because alternative tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco (known as “chew,” “dip” and “snuff,”), hookah have been found to be detrimental to health, these products are also banned because they do not fit with UL Lafayette’s environment of health and wellness. Furthermore, the University has been challenged with issues of decorum and cleanliness associated with the use of smokeless tobacco products. Anyone who wants to use these products will have to partake outside of UL Lafayette’s tobacco-free zones.
Why not just create designated smoking areas?
State law mandated the smoke-free policy. The creation of designated places to use tobacco is not consistent with state’s commitment to improve the working and learning environment, as well as improve the health of our community by creating a smoke- and tobacco-free environment.
Does this policy apply to all UL Lafayette campuses and properties?
Yes, all properties owned, leased or occupied by UL Lafayette are covered under this policy. Besides land, property includes state vehicles and buses.
Will the policy remain in effect on weekends?
The tobacco-free policy is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Can I use e-cigarettes on campus?
E-cigarettes produce indoor air pollutants and have a heating element, which can serve as a source of ignition. They are therefore prohibited inside buildings (including parking garages) and near any area with combustible materials. E-cigarettes can be used outdoors on campus away from combustible materials.
Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to smoking?
There is insufficient evidence about the safety of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved and are not considered an approved cessation device.
Are there any policy exceptions for smoking and/or tobacco?
A few exceptions to the tobacco-free policy are noted within the policy.
Can I use tobacco in my residence hall room or University apartment?
No. Smoking, tobacco-products and even e-cigarettes are not permitted.
Can I use tobacco in my personal vehicle within the tobacco-free zones?
Yes, as long as the vehicle is parked in an UL Lafayette parking lot or on a street. You should keep your windows rolled up. Because University parking garages are considered state buildings, smoking is not allowed within vehicles that are parked within garages.
Does the tobacco-free policy apply to tailgate gatherings at NCAA events?
No. Grounds outside of athletics facilities during NCAA public events, including parking lots and tailgating areas are exempt.
Does the policy include property the University leases?
University as lessee: Yes, the tobacco-free policy applies to all buildings owned, leased or occupied by UL Lafayette. University as lessor: Tobacco use may be permitted on University-owned properties that are leased or otherwise convey an interest to a non-University party, according to the provisions of the applicable lease or agreement, and with the prior approval of the Vice President for Administration and Finance.
What will be done with the ashtrays around campus?
Ashtrays will be removed from campus because they are a receptacle for a product that will no longer be used on UL Lafayette property.
What are the borders of the tobacco-free environment?
Smoking is permitted on public sidewalks that border the campus. This map identifies an example of tobacco-free zones around the UL Lafayette main campus, and this map identifies tobacco-free zones around the UL Lafayette south campus.
How will property owners adjacent to the UL Lafayette campuses be affected by the policy?
Properties adjacent to UL Lafayette set their own policies regarding tobacco use. We ask UL Lafayette employees, students and visitors to be courteous when going off campus to use tobacco products by disposing of tobacco products and packaging in appropriate receptacles and being aware of others nearby who may not wish to be exposed to secondhand smoke.
How will the policy be enforced and by whom?
UL Lafayette community members are asked to help create a tobacco-free environment using community enforcement. Community enforcement relies on individuals to educate one another about the tobacco-free policy at UL Lafayette and ask that individuals extinguish tobacco material. If a community member is not comfortable doing so, or if an individual repeatedly violates the policy the following actions may be taken. If a student violates the tobacco-free policy, the location and time of the violation can be reported to the Office of Student Life and Conduct. If a faculty or staff member violates the policy, contact their department supervisor. The University Department of Public Safety will only be responsible for addressing visitors that violate this policy.
What are the consequences for people who violate the tobacco-free policy?
Students and employees are required to abide by all University policies in their day-to-day activities at UL Lafayette. If a student or an employee violates this policy, they may face disciplinary action. Visitors in violation of this policy will be referred to this document for review and asked to stop violating the policy. Visitors repeatedly in violation of this policy will be referred to University Police and asked to leave the campus.
What can I do if I see someone smoking or using other tobacco products?
It is possible that a person smoking on the UL Lafayette campus is unaware of the tobacco-free policy. If you see someone smoking on an University campus after Aug. 1, 2014, kindly inform him/her that UL Lafayette has gone tobacco-free, and ask him or her to extinguish his or her tobacco product if you are comfortable doing so. You also may ask if they need directions to a nearby, off-campus location where they can use tobacco.
Discussions about the revised tobacco policy should be brief, educational, and non-confrontational. The FIRE-fly approach means serve as a guiding light…
F – friendly introduction
I – inform the person about the tobacco-free policy
R – request they not smoke on campuses
E – express thanks for complying
What resources are available to help those who want to quit tobacco?
Quitting tobacco can be a long, difficult process. Here are several resources available to you.
- Quit With Us LA offers referrals to local resources, including doctors who are able to prescribe medication, at http://quitwithusla.org/
- Smoking Cessation Trust http://www.smokingcessationtrust.org/ is a resource for Louisiana residents who started smoking before Sept. 1, 1988. The trust will arrange for you to receive, at no cost, any of the following cessation services: cessation medications, individual/group cessation counseling, telephone quit-line support, and/or intensive cessation support services.
- Healthy Habits™ is a free iPhone app that can help anyone quit smoking. It won first place in the US Surgeon General's Healthy Apps Challenge. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/healthy-habits/id416687813
- SmokeFree.gov provides helpful advice about the steps to quit http://smokefree.gov/
- Quitlines are available at the National Cancer Institute at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848), American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872), and Louisiana at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Students are eligible for free counseling services through the Health and Wellness Center.
Employees with health coverage through the Office of Group Benefits Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana are eligible to receive free tobacco cessation medications through their prescription drug benefit. Such products and medications include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as gum, patches, inhalers, nasal spray and lozenges, as well as the prescription medications Bupropion (Zyban or Wellbutrin) and Varenicline (Chantix). OGB health plan coverage for each of the seven FDA‐approved cessation medications requires a written prescription, even for those sold over the counter. See the Group Benefits health management section for more information.