Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why is UT tobacco-free?

The “No Smoking” policy was replaced with a Tobacco-free Campus policy on April 9, 2012 to preserve funding for cancer research which is vital to the core mission of our university and to compliment other university initiatives.

UT seeks to provide a clean, healthy environment for the entire community. A tobacco-free campus will:

  • Protect people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to tobacco and passive smoke
  • Establish a supportive atmosphere for those trying to quit using tobacco and create a culture of wellness for student, faculty, staff and visitors.
  • Create a cleaner and healthier living, learning and working environment to support our sustainable green initiatives.

What cancer research funding would have been impacted without an expanded policy?

UT Austin receives research funding from multiple sources including the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). CPRIT announced a change in their grant policies in 2012 requiring the certification of a tobacco-free policy for entities receiving CPRIT funds [PDF*].

What are the boundaries of the university for the purposes of defining university property?

The boundaries include any property owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by UT Austin. For purposes of the Tobacco-free Campus policy, this includes property in the state of Texas including but not limited to all buildings and structures, sidewalks, parking lots, walkways, attached parking structures and university owned vehicles.

How will the policy be enforced?

We are an institution of higher education therefore education is key to implementing this policy. We make people aware of the tobacco-free environment through electronic messaging, signage, notices in event programs and marketing. An explanation of the tobacco-free campus policy is communicated to prospective and enrolling students and new employees. Additionally, we ask event planners to include about the policy in materials distributed to all outside groups that use university facilities.

The expectation is that persons will voluntarily comply with the policy. It is the responsibility of everyone on campus to politely inform others of the policy and ask that they put out their cigarette and/or stop using tobacco products on campus.

Will the use of e-cigarettes be permitted?

UT tobacco-free policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and any nicotine delivery device that has not been approved by the FDA for cessation. (The FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product” under the Tobacco Control Act). E-Cigarettes and vape pens promote and/or perpetuate nicotine addiction, and thus for many people may lead (or lead back) to cigarette use.

Other forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches are available in the campus Forty Acres Pharmacy located in the Student Services Building and in several Division of Housing & Food Service campus stores. See the QUIT Resources page of this website for a list of cessation resources.

What are the prohibited items and activities under the tobacco-free policy?

All forms of smoking, tobacco use, and unregulated nicotine products, including but not limited to:

  • cigarettes, cigars (commercially or self-rolled)
  • pipes, hookahs, water pipes
  • electronic cigarettes
  • vape pens
  • Bidis, Kreteks
  • smokeless tobacco (e.g., snuff, snus, chew)

Tobacco use including smoking, chewing, dipping, or any other use of tobacco products.

Smoking refers to inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying of any lighted or heated tobacco product, as well as non-tobacco smoking substances and smoking instruments.

Where does the policy apply?

The policy includes the university main campus and all other buildings or facilities owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by UT Austin in the state of Texas.

  • Dell Pediatric Research Institute
  • Pickle Research Campus
  • Marine Science Institute
  • McDonald Observatory
  • University residence halls and campus apartments

What about exceptions to the policy?

Narrowly defined exceptions allow for tobacco use in sponsored research projects, in educational or clinical instruction, for artistic performance in a university sponsored event and on the exterior grounds of graduate housing and employer required lodging in locations other than main campus, e.g. McDonald’s Observatory. A Tobacco-free Campus Advisory Group monitors the policy and evaluates requests for exceptions.

Does the Tobacco-free Campus policy apply at university sanctioned events or sporting activities occurring off campus property?

The Tobacco-free Campus policy applies only to university owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled property. Events or activities scheduled elsewhere are bound by the policies or rules of the event coordinator or property manager.

Does the policy apply to visitors to campus?

Yes. Organizers and attendees at public events, such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social events, cultural events, and sporting events using university facilities are required to abide by the Tobacco-free Campus policy. Organizers of such events are responsible for communicating the policy to attendees.

Is the university requiring that people quit using tobacco products?

No. However, we are encouraging current tobacco users to explore this option. The university is committed to supporting all students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco products with cessation resources. Students, faculty, and staff choosing to continue using tobacco products may do so, but only on their own time and in areas not owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by UT Austin.

What resources are available to help those who want to quit using tobacco products?

Assistance to students, faculty, and staff to overcome addiction to tobacco products is available by University Health Services and the Counseling and Mental Health Center for students and Human Resource Services, HealthPoint Wellness and EAP Programs for staff and faculty. See the QUIT Resources page of this website for a list of cessation resources.

Are there designated smoking or tobacco use areas?

No. Designated smoking or tobacco use locations are not available. As part of our transition plan to become a tobacco free campus, temporary use locations were in place for one year. Use of those temporary locations ended on February 28, 2013.

What if people don’t abide by the policy?

For visitors, we believe reminders about the tobacco-free campus will be important and the university will provide messaging on university affiliated materials, websites, vendor contracts and for special events. For students and employees, we expect cooperation with a policy that directly supports our ongoing research endeavors and other university initiatives. The university will evaluate reports of repeated concerns and implement actions for resolution using existing methods of enforcement for university policy violations.

Example Script #1:
Situation: You see a person using tobacco products on UT Austin property.
Response: “Hello. I want to make you aware that we are a tobacco-free campus. Tobacco products are prohibited on our grounds. We would appreciate if you would not use tobacco products while visiting our campus. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Example Script #2:
Question: “Where am I allowed to smoke?”
Response: “If you need to smoke or use tobacco products you will need to leave the campus. You can visit our online campus maps to help you identify university property at www.utexas.edu/maps/. We do have nicotine gum and patches available for you to purchase at the campus pharmacy located in the Student Services Building and in several campus convenience stores.”

Example Script #3:
For registration, pre-admission, and office staff who are speaking to students and families prior to a UT Austin campus visit: “I’d like to let you know in advance that our campus is a Tobacco-Free environment. We do have nicotine gum and patches available for you to purchase at the campus pharmacy located in the Student Services Building and in several campus convenience stores. Tobacco cessation resources are available for enrolled students and staff and faculty.”