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Smoke & Tobacco Free FAQ

I want to quit. What resources are available to me?

Visit our Education and Resources Page: https://chw.calpoly.edu/be-well/education-and-resources

What does “smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free” mean?

"Smoking" means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, cigarillo, or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for human inhalation, including hookahs and marijuana, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form. "Smoking" also includes the use of an electronic smoking device, which creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking.

"Electronic Smoking Device" means any product containing or delivering nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person to simulate smoking through inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the product. The term includes any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic pipe, electronic cigarillo, electronic hookah, or vape pen, or under any other product name or descriptor, which can be used to deliver an inhaled dose of nicotine, or other substances, including any component, part, or accessory of such a device, whether or not sold separately.

"Hookah" means a water pipe and any associated products and devices that are used to produce fumes, smoke, and/or vapor from the burning of material including, but not limited to, tobacco, shisha, or other plant matter.

'Tobacco Product" means: (a) any product containing, made, or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means, including, but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff; and (b) Any electronic device that delivers nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to an electronic cigarette, cigar, pipe, or hookah. (c) Notwithstanding any provision of subsections (a) and (b} to the contrary, "tobacco product" includes any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product, whether or not sold separately. "Tobacco product" does not include any product that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for sale as a tobacco cessation product or for other therapeutic purposes where such product is marketed and sold solely for such an approved purpose.

Smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free means smoking, the use of tobacco products, and the use of electronic smoking devices are prohibited.

Why are e-cigarettes included in the policy?

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.

“Unregulated high-tech smoking devices, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes,‘ closely resemble and purposefully mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The FDA‘s testing also suggested that ―quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent. ("Summary of results: laboratory analysis of electronic cigarettes conducted by FDA," Food and Drug Administration (FDA), July 22, 2009; http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm456610.htm)

Is medical marijuana included in the policy?

Yes. Federal law overrides state law. Cal Poly is an institution that supports financial aid (federal money) for students, therefore, Cal Poly follows federal law. Medical marijuana cards are invalid at Cal Poly.

Where does the smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy apply?

Smoking and the use of tobacco products as well as the use of nicotine products not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as tobacco cessation drugs or devices (e.g., e-cigarettes) is prohibited on all Cal Poly property, including indoor and outdoor spaces (including the Cal Poly Pier, Swanton Pacific Ranch, and Bella Montana Rental Properties) owned and operated by campus auxiliaries. Indoor spaces include, but are not limited to all offices, classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, hallways, waiting rooms, restrooms, meeting rooms, community areas, performance venues, athletic facilities, athletic stadiums, apartments and private residential space within the residence halls or ag housing. Smoking and the use of tobacco products shall also be prohibited at all outdoor spaces, including, but not limited to open areas, parking lots, paths, fields, athletic/sports/recreational areas, facilities, agricultural land, and sidewalks located inside the perimeter of the campus. The policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and other persons on campus, regardless of the purpose of their visit. This policy includes off campus space or facilities leased by the campus (CIE Hot House, Downtown Alumni Center, and Downtown Lofts), as well as off-campus University sponsored events.

Smoking and the use of tobacco are prohibited in all vehicles (including state-owned vehicles) on campus property. This prohibition includes passenger vehicles and all other state-owned mobile equipment, including light and heavy-duty trucks, cargo and passenger vans, buses, carts, and any other mobile equipment with an enclosed or enclosable driver/passenger compartment.

When did the smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy go into effect?

Effective September 1, 2017, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is entirely a smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus.

Who does the smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy apply to?

This policy applies to students, staff, faculty, visitors, and vendors. The smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy applies to all California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo facilities, properties, and vehicles.

What about the University’s neighbors?

Cal Poly asks that students, faculty and staff help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors that border the campus. We encourage you to respect other’s property by not littering and not congregating in areas to smoke and thus creating a cloud that others must walk through. According to California Penal Code 374.4, it is unlawful to litter in or upon public or private property. A person, firm, or corporation violating this section is guilty of an infraction. Be Well Advocates have reached out to our neighbors, informed them of the policy, and encouraged open communication if a problem arises.

According to Title 8 Chapter 8.16 of the City of San Luis Obispo Municipal Code, it is unlawful to smoke in public places, places of employment and outdoor recreational areas.   

Isn’t this a violation of my civil rights? Don’t I have a right to smoke on campus?

No, there is no “right” to use tobacco under either state or federal law. The University has the authority to govern the use of university property and facilities and to establish policies that protect the health of all campus members. This policy does not force smokers and/or tobacco users to quit, it prohibits the use of smoke and tobacco products on campus property.

Is smoking, vaping, or tobacco use allowed in personal vehicles?

No, Smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco are prohibited in all vehicles (including personal and state-owned vehicles, whether parked or in motion), if the vehicle is located on campus property. This prohibition includes passenger vehicles and all other state-owned mobile equipment, including light and heavy-duty trucks, cargo and passenger vans, buses, carts, and any other mobile equipment with an enclosed or enclosable driver/passenger compartment.

Are there designated smoking areas on campus?

No, smoking and the use of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes are not allowed anywhere on campus property.

Can I smoke inside the bathroom or inside campus residences?

No, according to Assembly Bill 846, existing law prohibits any state employee or member of the public from smoking a tobacco product inside a state-owned or state-occupied building.

Can I smoke on the sidewalk?

There are signs posted at each entrance to Cal Poly stating that Cal Poly is a smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus, therefore, smoking on the sidewalks located inside the perimeter of the campus is not allowed.

How is the smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy being implemented?

The success of the policy relies on the consideration and cooperation of all California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The primary mode of implementation will be through a positive educational campaign, called “Be Well”. The Be Well campaign aims to increase the awareness of a smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy through campus advocacy supplemented by cessation and policy awareness cards. If policy compliance remains a challenge after extensive campus education and outreach, the University reserves the right to institute fines for infractions as allowed by Assembly Bill 795. In these instances, the University Police Department may be contacted for assistance.

Will I be cited for smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products on campus?

The Be Well Campaign aims to increase the awareness of the smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy through campus advocacy supplemented by cessation and policy awareness cards. If policy compliance remains a challenge after extensive campus education and outreach, the University reserves the right to institute fines for violations as allowed by Assembly Bill 795. Furthermore, according to California Penal Code 374.4, it is unlawful to litter in or upon public or private property. A person, firm, or corporation violating this section is guilty of an infraction.

What should I do if I see someone smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products?

Be Well Advocates have been mobilized to educate the campus community about the upcoming smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus and to increase awareness of the cessation resources that are available. You can report such activities to the Smoke and Tobacco Free Taskforce at https://chw.calpoly.edu/be-well/contact.

How would I report incidents of policy violation?

If you would like to report an issue with individuals violating the smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy, please complete out the following form.

Why did Cal Poly go smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free?

On April 7, 2017 Chancellor Timothy White issued an executive order for a system wide CSU smoke and tobacco free environment.  . In compliance with this executive order, Cal Poly is committed to promoting a clean and healthy educational, living, and working environment for all members of our campus community. Everyone will breathe easier, and this will assure equal access for individuals most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke exposure, such as those with asthma and allergies.

What are the health consequences of secondhand smoke?

Exposure to secondhand smoke is known to cause death and disease and is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing over 50,000 non-smokers each year. The Surgeon General of the United States has concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found secondhand tobacco smoke to be a risk to public health, and has classified secondhand smoke as a group A carcinogen, the most dangerous class of carcinogen. Furthermore, the California Air Resources Board has categorized secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant.

What are the benefits of a smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy?

Smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus policies protect the health and safety of faculty, staff, students and visitors by eliminating secondhand smoke and tobacco litter on campus.

  • A 100% smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy:
  • Promotes clean air, a healthy environment, and healthy behavior choices;
  • Saves money from staff time spent cleaning cigarette litter by eliminating butts and other tobacco waste on campus;
  • Prepares students for tobacco and smoke free work environments (e.g., hospitals, K-12 schools, etc.);
  • Prevents students from initiating tobacco;
  • Encourages people who use tobacco to quit or decrease use; and
  • Supports those who have quit using tobacco.

How will a  smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus policy affect Cal Poly’s culture?

The adoption of a 100% smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy promotes the health and well‐being of everyone on campus, including employees. Currently, individuals who work in outdoor areas are not provided with the same level of protection to secondhand smoke as those working indoors. A 100% smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free policy provides equal protection to everyone on campus. Additionally, the policy may encourage people who smoke to quit using tobacco and will support those individuals who have quit using tobacco.

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