Tobacco-Free Campus

On September 1, 2011, Salem State joined over 260 colleges and universities nationwide that have implemented a tobacco-free environment for their respective campuses.


Frequently Asked Questions of the Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative at Salem State University

Q: Why did we become a smoke-free campus?

A: The health and safety of students, employees and visitors is a top priority for Salem State University. The United States Surgeon General has determined that tobacco smoking is the nation’s leading preventable cause of premature death and disability. Tobacco smoke is hazardous to the health of smokers and non-smokers alike. To promote a safe and healthful work environment, Salem State has adopted new standards to encourage smokers to reduce or eliminate their use of tobacco, and to protect non-smokers from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Q: Why was smoking selected versus other health risks to address?

A: Tobacco is the only product that when used properly, as intended, leads to serious illness and premature death.

Consider the facts:

1. Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity (disease and illness) and premature mortality (death) worldwide.

2. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 438,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of "secondhand" exposure to tobacco's carcinogens. American Lung Association,

Q: What areas of campus will the smoke-free policy cover?

A: The new standards apply to all university property, other properties owned or leased by the university, and all university leased or owned vehicles.

Q: What about smoking on sidewalks on and around campus?

A: Salem State University has no jurisdiction over the use of city owned streets, sidewalks and right-of-ways. However, many streets and adjacent sidewalks on the campus are university property. Those interested in engaging in tobacco-related activities should exercise care to obviously and clearly engage in these activities on property that is not university property.

Q: Can I smoke in my car?

A: Smoking on all Salem State property, including in vehicles parked on the property, is prohibited.

Q: Is there a clear defined designated smoking area for employees, students and visitors?

A: No. Providing a place to smoke does not support the campus’s goal to create a healthier environment. The majority of smokers self-report a strong desire to quit smoking, but are unsuccessful in their efforts each year. Salem State is working to eliminate the triggers–such as designated tobacco use areas–that make tobacco cessation difficult.

Q: How will students, employees, visitors and the community know of this new policy?

A: The university’s counseling and health services and human resources offices will coordinate university efforts for policy notification, education, promotion, support and assessment to ensure successful implementation.

Q: How will the policy be enforced?

A: The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers. Students and employees have a collective responsibility to promote the health and safety of the campus community and therefore share in the responsibility of enforcement. Individuals observed smoking are to be reminded in a professional and courteous manner of the university’s tobacco-free standards. Salem State reserves the right to initiate disciplinary procedures against any individual found to be in violation of this policy.

Q: What about Salem State’s neighbors?

A: Salem State asks our students and employees to help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors. Smoking off campus does not give anyone the right to litter on private or public property. Salem State neighbors will be informed of our new standards and will be encouraged to contact the university should problems arise.

Q: Isn’t smoking a personal, legal right?

A: Court rulings maintain that tobacco users do not have the legal right to expose others to second hand smoke, a Class A carcinogen, and they are not entitled to protection against discrimination as “addicts” or as “disabled persons.”

Q: Will there be an impact on enrollment when a campus goes smoke-free?

A: It is anticipated that the promotion of Salem State as an active, vibrant, healthy campus community will increase interest in university enrollment. Studies indicate that colleges and universities that have initiated a tobacco-free policy on their campus have not experienced a decline in enrollment.

*Adapted from Boise State University’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding their tobacco free campus policy.


Facts about Tobacco

1. Creation of entirely tobacco free environment is the culmination of many years of work toward decreasing smoking and the sale of tobacco products on the university campus.

2. In 1989 all tobacco products were banned from the campus.

3. In 1990 the Commonwealth banned smoking within all state buildings.

4. Recently the state initiated a 25 foot buffer zone outside all state owned buildings which smokers must stand.

5. Creating a tobacco free campus will help the university to ensure a healthier environment for our students, employees and campus guests.

6. Workplace restrictions on smoking have been found to be effective in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. American Cancer Society reports that research has indicated there is a 20% to 30% increase in the risk of lung cancer from secondhand smoke.

7. Male smokers miss 3.9 more days of work per year than non-smoking males, and female smokers miss an additional 2.1 days of work per year.

8. Secondhand smoke is responsible for an est. 3,000 lung cancer deaths among US nonsmokers each year.

9. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemical agents, including more than 60 substances that are known to cause cancer.

10. The risk of developing smoking-related cancers, as well as noncancerous diseases, increases with total lifetime exposure to cigarette smoke.

11. Smokers who quit reap major and immediate health benefits.

12. The cost of cigarettes per year averages $2500.

*8, 9, 10, 11 from the National Cancer Institute


Tobacco Cessation

If you have tried to quit before, you know. Quitting tobacco is not easy. In fact, most cigarette smokers try on average to quit seven times before they are successful. It can be done, and we can help. Counseling and Health Services has trained staff that can be of assistance in helping you quit. Research shows that getting help increases the chances you will be successful in your quitting efforts. So whether you need a prescription for a cessation medication or just to talk, come in so we can help. We can provide you with the tools you need to become a nonsmoker for good.

Tips and Tricks to Stop Tobacco

Get help. You are more likely to be successful if you use some type of help.

Prepare mentally, you will need willpower to break the habit for good.

Be prepared and be realistic. When you first quit you may feel restless, irritable, frustrated, and even sleepless. These will pass as the addictive effects of the nicotine in tobacco leave your system.

Make a list of why you want to be tobacco free. You can use this to help you through the tough first few days.

Set a date. This helps with your mental preparation.

Tell your friends, family, coworkers and everyone else who can be supportive. This helps make your quitting efforts more real.

Avoid temptation. Especially in the first few tough days, you will likely want to avoid situations or people who were part of your tobacco rituals.

Hang in there. It takes about two weeks to get nicotine out of your system. The cravings will subside and soon it will be much easier to say NO forever.