Tobacco-free policy FAQs

Why go 100% tobacco-free?

Oregon State is committed to supporting health and wellness for all members of our university community. Tobacco, in all its forms, damages health and is highly addictive. The 100% tobacco-free policy is compatible with Oregon State’s commitment to health, creates a healthier environment for those who are trying to quit, and brings us in line with major public health organizations’ recommendations to fully integrate smokeless tobacco products into all tobacco control policies.

So what is different about the new 100% tobacco-free policy?

The 100% tobacco-free OSU policy includes non-combustible tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff, snus and dissolvables. It also extends beyond the Corvallis campus to cover all University-owned and controlled property.

How damaging to health are smokeless tobacco products?

Smokeless tobacco products can cause cancers of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas. They can also lead to gum disease and tooth loss, nicotine poisoning in children, an increased risk of death from heart disease and stroke, and early delivery and stillbirth when used during pregnancy.

What about e-cigarettes and vaping?

E-cigarettes and other vaping products are included in Oregon State University’s 100% tobacco-free policy. That is, their use is not allowed, either indoors or outdoors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded that “the vapor from e-cigarettes is harmful because it contains harmful ingredients, including nicotine. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing brain.” Some of the numerous toxic ingredients that have been found in e-cigarette vapor include heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and nickel, as well as solvents. In addition, e-cigarette vapor consists of ultrafine particles that users often inhale deeply into their lungs. The particles are more fine than the particles in cigarette smoke. The long-term effects on users’ lungs are simply not yet known. A recent outbreak of vaping-related deaths and hospitalizations is raising even greater concerns about vaping and its damaging effects.

What are the resources on campus to help tobacco users quit?

Through Student Health Services and employee health benefits, OSU offers tobacco cessation services and nicotine replacement therapy to students, faculty and staff. Please visit Ready to quit tobacco? for details on tobacco cessation supports.

What have other colleges and universities done with regard to tobacco-free policies?

As of October 2019, the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation lists  2,044 college and university campuses across the United States that are 100% tobacco-free. The state of California recently enacted a policy making all of its public universities tobacco-free. Closer to home, the University of Oregon instituted its current tobacco-free policy in 2012.

How will the policy be communicated and enforced?

Implementation and enforcement plans include increased education and signage to boost awareness and compliance with the policy. In addition, policy violations will be referred to the appropriate University authority in conformance with applicable disciplinary procedures.

Can individuals report incidents of tobacco use?

Please use the Tobacco-Free OSU online feedback form to share information about policy violations, offer suggestions, or ask questions. If reporting a violation, you won’t be asked to name names, just for details about your observations of tobacco use. This feedback will help the University determine additional enforcement strategies, if needed.