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FAQ

We offer answers to your most frequently asked questions about CWRU's new Tobacco-Free Policy. If you cannot find your answer here, please feel free to email Medical Director Elizabeth Click with your question.

Why Tobacco Free?

  • At its June 2016 meeting, Case Western Reserve University’s Board of Trustees approved a Tobacco-Free Campus Policy that will reduce health risks associated with the use of tobacco products and promote the health and well-being of our university community. We believe that a tobacco-free campus policy also will reduce employee and student health care costs and absenteeism and will increase employee productivity. This policy will prohibit the use of tobacco products at all times on campus property and will take effect July 1, 2017.
  • Because of the public health, economic and environmental benefits of adopting a tobacco-free campus policy, 19 percent of members of the Association of American Universities have smoke-free policies, which do not explicitly ban smokeless products. In addition, 29 percent of AAU members have adopted tobacco-free policies. Included in this group are Emory University, Tulane University, Indiana University, The Ohio State University, the University of California system, and Washington University in St. Louis. The policies of these universities also include the prohibition of e-cigarettes.
  • Locally, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Cuyahoga Community College and local health care institutions such as Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals have adopted a tobacco-free policies.
  • Since spring 2013, members of the university administration have met with the Faculty Senate and its Executive Committee, the Staff Advisory Council and its steering committee, and undergraduate and graduate student government bodies, and held two town hall presentations to get input on the Tobacco-Free Policy. Revisions to the policy were made based on the campus community's feedback.
  • Additionally, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) surveyed the student body during the 2011-12 academic year regarding the tobacco-free policy, and in March 2014, during USG election, students had the option to vote in a non-binding poll on the issue. In both cases, a majority of students were in favor of the tobacco-free policy. In spring 2016, a student referendum was held on the tobacco-free campus policy. The USG decided to remain neutral on the policy because members felt the referendum results were not conclusive, but it did pass a resolution outlining the referendum results and recommending that the administration appoint at least four students or one-fourth of the representation to any committees tasked with overseeing the implementation of the tobacco-free campus policy.
  • To implement the policy, the university administration formed an advisory committee composed of faculty, staff and students. The policy also includes resources for tobacco cessation for faculty, staff and students.
  • In January, the Faculty Senate endorsed the Tobacco-Free Policy.

Important Definitions

Tobacco” refers to any product containing tobacco in any form. Tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes (clove, bidis, kreteks, e-cigarettes); cigars and cigarillos; pipes; all forms of smokeless tobacco; any other smoking devices that use tobacco, such as hookahs; and any other existing or future smoking, tobacco or tobacco-related products.

CWRU Property” refers to all interior space owned, rented or leased by CWRU and all outside property or grounds owned or leased by CWRU, including parking areas, private vehicles while they are on CWRU property and CWRU vehicles.

E-cigarettes are not to be used on campus. The university has chosen this conservative stance given the insufficient evidence available regarding their use as cessation devices and the uncertainty surrounding hazards associated with their use. In addition, they are not approved as cessation devices by the Food and Drug Administration. Including them as banned substances is the current standard for higher education, health care and corporate organizations. This is described as a "best practice" by the federal government, American Heart Association and the American College Health Association. Finally, the World Health Organization and the American Lung Association have reported significant concerns regarding e-cigarettes.

Tobacco use is not allowed on any property owned, leased or rented by the university. Events occurring off campus are governed by the policies in place at those other locations.

Answers for Tobacco Users

Smoking is not a guaranteed right; it is a choice that people make. We have created this policy to encourage people to quit tobacco use, which is the No. 1 behavior that impacts quality and length of life. Tobacco use impacts people's productivity and is a significant contributor to rising health care costs. As an employer that values its people and that offers self-insured medical insurance, encouraging people to not smoke is a critical effort.

The university encourages everyone interested in quitting tobacco use to participate in a cessation opportunity. While quitting tobacco use is not required, people will not be permitted to use tobacco on university property. Tobacco users must find ways to manage their nicotine use that does not involve using tobacco on campus.

Employees may leave campus during the work day for scheduled breaks. Those breaks should follow established rules/parameters within departments and work units. Respect for the university’s neighbors is expected. No trespassing, littering or loitering should occur on public or private property next to any university property.

Please refer to the policies for each separate organization to determine whether or not it permits tobacco use on its property. We do not wish to have CWRU faculty, staff or students use tobacco on other properties without checking on each organization's policy first.

Leaving campus to smoke or use tobacco is no different than leaving campus to go out to eat, run an errand, etc. Following general safety protocols for an urban environment is always advised.

Supporting the Effort

Current policy now focuses on compliance to encourage a collaborative and supportive environment as a key strategy in eliciting compliance and policy adoption.

As a manager or supervisor, your responsibility is to make sure that all of your direct reports follow university policies. Please review this policy during a department meeting. You may wish to ask your work group to brainstorm ways that everyone can follow the policy and get their needs met.