General FAQ

Who do I contact if I have additional questions about the policy?

For comments or questions regarding this policy, members of the campus community and the community at large are encouraged to contact smokefree@ucmerced.edu.

Are there exceptions to the policy?

Tobacco use is permitted for the following exceptions:

1. Tobacco use for university-approved ceremonial purposes is allowed in a space designated for the ceremony.  Preapproval is required.
2. UC Merced Institutional Review Board-approved medical research only if tobacco use is integral to the research protocol.

Are there any other educational institutions that have gone smoke/tobacco-free?

Yes. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, as of July 8, 2013 there are 1,182 one hundred percent smoke-free college campuses. Of these, 798 have a one hundred percent tobacco-free policy.

Will this policy negatively affect enrollment or employment?

In surveys of other colleges and universities that have established a smoke-free policy, there has not been a decline in student enrollment or applicants seeking employment. Surveys consistently show that most students would prefer to attend a tobacco-free college.

Do smoke/tobacco-free policies really help?

Yes. According to the CDC, smoking bans and restrictions lead to a reduction in the amount of daily smoking among students and employees and an increase in the number of individuals who stop smoking. Smoke/tobacco-free campuses and workplaces reduce the risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer due to secondhand smoke exposure.

Don’t I have a right to smoke or use tobacco products on campus?

Using tobacco is a personal choice, not a constitutional right. There is no constitutional right to smoke. 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. This decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and nonsmokers alike.

What about University of California neighbors?

UC asks that students, faculty and staff help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors that border the campuses. We encourage you to respect other’s property by not littering and not congregating in areas to smoke. We will be reaching out to our neighbors and informing them of the upcoming policy and encouraging.

If I choose to continue to smoke or use tobacco and do not have enough time to step off campus to smoke what am I supposed to do?

The University is aware that nicotine is a highly addictive drug and simply waiting until lunchtime or after work will be difficult for some. We encourage the use of nicotine replacement products such as gum or lozenges for times when it is inconvenient to smoke. Please work with your health care provider to determine the appropriate product.

What is the percentage of faculty, staff and students who smoke or use tobacco at UC?

Approximately 10 percent of UC employees smoke, below the state average of 12 percent and well below the national average of nearly 20 percent. Around 8 percent of UC students smoke, compared to the national average of 16 percent.

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