Oregon State University is already 100% smoke-free. Why go 100% tobacco-free?

OSU 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 OSU Tobacco Policy Task Force is proposing a 100% tobacco-free policy to ensure that we have the healthiest campus we can. The proposed policy is compatible with OSU’s commitment to health, creates a healthier environment for those who are trying to quit, and it brings us in line with major public health organizations’ recommendations to fully integrate smokeless tobacco products into all tobacco control policies.


When would this new policy be implemented?

OSU’s Tobacco Policy Taskforce is currently engaging the university community in dialogue about the proposed policy and anticipates that, if supported, the policy would be implemented on all University-owned or controlled properties in the Spring of 2019.


So what would be different about this new proposed policy?

A 100% tobacco-free OSU policy would include tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff, snus and dissolvables.   


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 already included (not allowed indoors or outdoors) in Oregon State University’s current smoke-free policy.

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 vapers often inhale deeply into their lungs. The particles are more fine than the particles in cigarette smoke. The effects on vapers’ lungs are simply not yet known.  


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.


Are there other campuses who have a completely tobacco-free policy that have had success? Who do you look to as a model?

Yes! As of April 2019, the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation lists 1,986 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, and health personnel have reported that their policy is successful and strongly supported. 


How would the policy be enforced?

The OSU Tobacco Policy Task Force is exploring enforcement efforts that would include increased education and signage to boost awareness and compliance with the policy.  In addition, policy violations would be referred to the appropriate University authority in conformance with applicable disciplinary procedures.


Should I 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.