Talking Points

Basic Statement of Policy

UC Davis is a Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus.

For a healthier community and cleaner environment, UC Davis is smoke and tobacco free.

Thank you for not smoking.


  • To improve the health of the campus community and create a cleaner environment, UC Davis became a smoke and tobacco free campus on January 1, 2014.
  • Smoke and tobacco free means that smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products and the use of unregulated nicotine products ("e-cigarettes) are prohibited in indoor and outdoor spaces, such as parking lots and rental units on campus. The sale or advertising of tobacco products is prohibited in buildings owned or occupied by the university.
  • This policy applies to all UC Davis facilities in Davis and at satellite locations. It applies to all faculty, staff, students, volunteers, contractors, visitors, and anyone entering onto University-controlled properties. It is applicable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The policy to ban smoking and the use of tobacco products was established during discussions at the University's August 2011 occupational wellness forum and is part of the University's larger wellness initiative. A committee was formed from different campuses to craft the system wide proposal.
  • In January, 2012, President Mark Yudof announced to all Chancellors that the University of California would be smoke and tobacco free by January 2014. The systemwide initiative and policy change applied to all UC campuses and medical centers.
  • UC’s policy does not require smokers or tobacco-users to quit, only to refrain from smoking or using tobacco products on campus. However, an aim of the policy is to help motivate tobacco users to quit. Evidence shows that tobacco free environments increase tobacco users’ chances of success in quitting.


  • Enforcement of the policy focuses on educating the community about the consequences of tobacco use and promoting smoking cessation resources.
  • Enforcement is primarily educational. The success of this policy relies on the respectfulness, consideration and cooperation of both tobacco users and non-tobacco users.
  • All members of the university community share the responsibility of adhering to and enforcing the policy and have the responsibility for bringing it to the attention of visitors and guests.

Policy Impact on Tobacco Use

  • Two-thirds of smokers consistently report that they want to quit. Although UC’s policy does not require smokers or tobacco-users to quit, evidence shows that tobacco free environments increase tobacco users’ chances of success in quitting.
  • 100% smoke free policies have been found to change tobacco use behavior in workplaces. A study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that tobacco users who worked in a completely smoke free environment were more likely to quit than their counterparts working in areas where smoking was permitted (Fichtenberg & Glantz, 2002).
  • Individuals working in smoke free environments are more likely to decrease the number of cigarettes they smoked throughout the day (Fichtenberg & Glantz, 2002).
  • Visit the FAQ page for additional information on how smoke and tobacco free policies impact campuses.


  • The litter from cigarette butts is substantial and has a negative impact on the environment. A study of litter at UC San Diego and San Diego State University revealed that in 80 volunteer hours, 31,410 butts were collected at these institutions (combined). This represented about 380 butts collected per volunteer per hour (Sawdey, et al, 2011).
  • In 2011, more than 335,000 smoking related items (cigarette butts and filters, lighters, etc.) were removed from California beaches and inland waterways during the International Coastal Cleanup (Ocean Conservancy). Over two million cigarettes were collected globally; they were the most commonly found pieces of trash.
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that employers could save $4 to 8 billion in building operations and maintenance costs with comprehensive smoke free policies (National Business Group on Health: Tobacco: the Business of Quitting).

Support for a Tobacco Free Campus

  • In 2008, nearly 75% of students, staff and faculty responding to a Smoke Free Policy Quick Survey indicated that they would support a smoke free policy at the UC Davis main campus.
  • In 2011, 80.5% of UC Davis students responding to the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment II answered "Yes" when asked, "Would you support a tobacco-free policy at the UC Davis main campus?"

UC Davis Smoking Rates

Among Undergraduates

According to the 2013 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment II:

  • 7.5% of respondents said they had used cigarettes within the last 30 days
  • 7.4% of respondents said they had used tobacco from a water pipe (hookah) within the last 30 days
  • 17.1% of respondents said they had used marijuana within the last 30 days
  • 2.5% of respondents said they had used smokeless tobacco within the last 30 days

Among International Students

According to an International English and Professional Programs survey of students in Fall 2012 to assess health behaviors within the last 30 days:

  • 13.7%  of respondents said they had used cigarettes
  • 7.6%  of respondents said they had used tobacco from a water pipe (hookah)
  • 1%  of respondents said they had used marijuana

Among Faculty and Staff

  • According to the 2011 StayWell Health Management data 3% of faculty and staff self-identified as using tobacco.
  • According to 2012 Kaiser data, 9% self-identified as a smoker.

UC Systemwide Smoking Rates

According to data from the University of California Office of the President:

  • About 10 percent of UC employees smoke, below the state average of 12 percent and well below the national average of nearly 20 percent.
  • About 8 percent of UC students smoke, compared to the national average of 16 percent.

Young Adults and Smoking

  • Young adults are at risk for becoming established smokers (at least 20 cigarettes in the last 30 days). Recent data suggest that regular or daily smoking may develop between ages 20 and 21 even if an individual first tries or experiments with smoking before the age of 18 (Green et al., 2007).
  • The college years have been identified as a time of increased risk for smoking initiation and transition to regular tobacco use. The time between first initiation and the age of 25 is viewed by the tobacco industry as an important transitional period when young adults experiment with tobacco and evolve into a daily smoker (Ling & Glantz, 2002).