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General FAQ

The policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

This policy affects students, faculty, staff and visitors at all University of California controlled properties.

Cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew, and any other non-combustible tobacco product.

E-cigarettes are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a tobacco cessation strategy. As an unregulated nicotine product, their use is prohibited on University property for the purposes of this policy.  However, other forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches are allowed.

Regulated refers to products that have gone through clinical trials and are recognized as approved cessation products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help individuals who use tobacco to quit.

Smokeless tobacco spit is considered a biohazard and contains at least 24 carcinogenic chemicals.

Spit tobacco often creates unwanted hazardous waste and byproducts, which campus maintenance staff members then have to dispose of.

A dip of smokeless tobacco typically contains 3-5 times more nicotine than a cigarette. Research shows that smokers have difficulty switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco. Instead, many become dual users of both cigarettes and smokeless products – increasing the addiction.

Smokeless tobacco use is a precursor to cigarette use. Specifically, adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Neither smoking nor the use of tobacco products are permitted within the boundaries of the University of California controlled properties.  A detailed map of UC Merced [insert link to map] shows the UCM property boundaries. Note that Ranchers road is UCM property. Once outside the boundaries of University controlled properties, smoking and use of tobacco products is subject to local jurisdiction.  We ask that faculty, staff, students and visitors be courteous when going off campus to smoke or 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.

Smoking/use of tobacco is not permitted in your personal vehicle, whether parked or in motion, if the vehicle is located on UC property.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the University of California is a smoke/tobacco-free university. Smoking areas or smoking shelters will not be designated on University property.

Through the authority provided in California Government Code 7597.1, the governing bodies of the University of California have the authority, in establishing policy for smoking and tobacco use, to set enforcement standards at local campuses.  

Violations of the policy by students, faculty or staff will be addressed in a matter consistent with any other policy violation.  Violations by non-affiliates may be addressed by UCPD.  In all cases, respectful communication of the policy is the most appropriate form of addressing policy violations.  Non-compliant or repeat offenders will be referred to the appropriate supervisor/organization as follows:

  • Faculty member - referred to Academic Senate
  • Staff member - referred to unit supervisor
  • Volunteer - referred to unit supervisor
  • Student - referred to Student Judicial Affairs or Housing and Residential Life Conduct
  • Visitor - referred to UC Police
  • Vendor/Contractor - referred to Purchasing, Facilities or Design and Construction

Faculty, staff, and students who see individuals smoking on University properties may respectfully inform these individuals of the University policy prohibiting smoking/tobacco use anywhere on University properties.

No. The policy does not require individuals to quit; however, the policy prohibits smoking and using tobacco products on all University controlled properties. In addition, the sale and advertising of tobacco and tobacco related products are prohibited at all UC-controlled properties.

The new policy is an important campus health and safety initiative. Anyone can access cessation support services by calling 1-800-NO-BUTTS.  Additional assistance to UC Merced students who wish to overcome addiction to tobacco products is available through:

Student Health Services
H. Rajender Reddy Health Center
(209) 228-2273
UC Merced faculty and staff can access cessation support services through:
Human Resources
[Insert the link]

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.

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.

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.

UC encourages all individuals to be mindful of their personal safety while on or off campus. Medications such as the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray or inhaler are options that can be considered to meet nicotine needs without leaving 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

FAQ For Supervisors and Managers

We recommend that managers/supervisors remind employees of this policy and seek their cooperation with compliance.

Supervisors are encouraged to communicate the University’s cessation assistance resources to employees and consult with Employee and Labor Relations prior to implementing disciplinary action.

A face-to-face meeting with the employee to discuss concerns is always the best place to start. The following tips can help:

  • Emphasize that you don’t expect or require the employee to quit smoking/tobacco use but that the employee must comply with the smoke/ tobacco-free policy while on University property.
  • If the employee indicates an interest in quitting, direct him or her to available resources.

Should they choose to do so, employees may use their allotted work breaks to travel off campus to smoke.  However, employees will not be given additional break time for smoking. Supervisors must be clear with employees on this matter.

There will be no reprisal against anyone seeking assistance in enforcing this policy in a courteous and respectful manner.