UC Davis Marks the 1 Year Anniversary of the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy

DATE: January 5, 2015

January 1st, 2015 marked the one-year anniversary of UC Davis becoming smoke and tobacco-free. Last year, UC Davis joined the rest of the University of California campuses and over 1,400 institutions across the U.S. in going 100% smoke free. Over 900 of these universities are also 100% tobacco free. This means that smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, and the use of unregulated nicotine products (i.e. e-cigarettes, vapes) is not allowed on any UC Davis owned or leased property, indoors and outdoors, including parking lots, sidewalks, and residential spaces.

This anniversary gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we are with the policy and what remains to be done to continue to promote a culture of health and mutual responsibility on campus.

2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. While the health risks are widely known, smoking and tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing one person every 8 seconds, equating to over 400,000 smokers and tobacco users and 50,000 non-smokers annually1. Aside from the health risks associated with smoking and tobacco use, cigarette butts make up over 30% of litter in California – contributing to the degradation of our environment2.

UC Davis is committed to providing faculty, staff, students and visitors with an environment that is free of smoke and tobacco in the effort to create a clean, healthy working and learning atmosphere. “As a preventive medicine physician, it’s rare that one gets the opportunity to positively impact as many lives at one time. This policy represents a really great change on our campus, but there is still work to be done to ensure all have the right to breathe clean air,” said Dr. Roger Belcourt, Director of Occupational Health Services and co-chair of the Smoke and Tobacco Free Steering Committee.

Over the past year, the Smoke and Tobacco Free Steering Committee has been committed to educating our community about the policy and letting tobacco users know about resources for quitting. The success of this policy relies on the respect, consideration and cooperation of the entire campus community – smokers and nonsmokers alike. While this approach is a step in the right direction, it has not been effective for everyone and the Steering Committee continues to work toward compliance.

While noncompliance with UC Davis’ smoke and tobacco-free policy is a violation of UC Davis’ code of conduct, enforcement remains educationally focused at this time and conversations with violators of the Smoke and Tobacco Free policy should be confidential, respectful, and empathetic.

If you or someone you know is ready to quit smoking, Student Health and Counseling Services offers Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products in conjunction with professional smoking cessation services. NRT, in the form of a four week supply of gum, patches or lozenges, is available at no cost to enrolled students. In addition, Rite Aid Pharmacy (655 Russell Blvd) offers an additional free 2-week supply of NRT to students, staff and faculty with a valid UC Davis ID.

UC Davis remains dedicated to the health and wellbeing of students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus. As we move forward with the policy, the Smoke and Tobacco Free Steering Committee will be reaching out to the campus community to assess the climate for future enforcement efforts. A survey will be distributed this month via campus-wide email to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy thus far and to assess campus support for future enforcement strategies. When this brief survey is released in the upcoming weeks, please take a few moments to make sure your voice is heard with regard to the policy moving forward. University officials will continue to examine policies at other higher education institutions and develop its own enforcement plan over the upcoming years.

The Smoke and Tobacco Free Steering Committee encourages members of the campus community to continue to utilize the online Breathefree feedback form for any questions, comments, concerns and/or instances of non-compliance. In addition, feel free to contact the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy Coordinator, Keavagh Clift at kclift@ucdavis.edu.

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
  1. Schultz, P. W., & Stein, S. R. (2009). Litter in America: National findings and recommendations. Keep America Beautiful.