Frequently Asked Questions

Policy

Why did UW-River Falls make this change?

We want to support a safe and healthy learning and working environment for all of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Smoking and secondhand smoke can increase a person's risk for heart disease, cancer, and respiratory problems, just to name a few. According to the Surgeon Generallink, there is no safe exposure level to secondhand smoke.

What does "tobacco-free campus" mean?

Smoking or use of any tobacco product is not permitted in any facility or on the grounds of UW-River Falls. This includes property that is "owned or controlled" by UW-River Falls, which includes parking lots and sidewalks. A map of where the policy is in effect can be found by clicking on the "Boundary Map" link in the menu to the left.

Who has to comply with this policy?

All university employees, students, or visitors of UW-River Falls must comply with this policy.

Does the policy apply to visitors to campus?

Yes. Organizers and attendees at public events, such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social events, cultural events, and sporting events using university facilities are required to abide by the tobacco-free campus policy. Organizers of such events are responsible for communicating the policy to attendees.

Are designated smoking areas available?

Designated smoking areas are not consistent with the philosophy of the policy. UW-River Falls' tobacco-free policy is intended to create a healthy environment to live, work, and learn. Smoking areas send a message that tobacco use is acceptable. Designated smoking areas also create confusion and are a compliance challenge. In fact, rarely do people comply with designated smoking areas.

What about individual rights?

Prohibiting smoking on campus preserves everyone's right to breathe clean, smoke-free air while allowing adults who smoke to continue to do so off-campus. This decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Isn't this a violation of my civil rights?

No; there is no "right" to smoke under either state or federal law. In addition, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls administration has the authority to regulate the use of university property.

What products are included in the policy?

For the purpose of this policy, "tobacco" is defined to include any lighted cigarette (including clove, bidis, kreteks), cigars, pipes, and hookah products; any other smoking products (such as e-cigarettes); and any smokeless, spit or spitless, dissolvable, or inhaled tobacco products, including but not limited to dip, chew, snuff or snus, in any form (such as orbs, sticks, pellet, etc.).

Why is smokeless tobacco included in the ban since there are not secondhand effects?

Establishing a comprehensive policy that includes all forms of tobacco is more equitable, easier to enforce, and has better health outcomes. The policy consistently addresses health issues, because there is no safe form of tobacco. The makers of smokeless tobacco would have people believe that their products are "safer" than cigarettes and can even be used as an aid in quitting smoking. The fact is that chewing tobacco and snuff contain over 28 cancer-causing agentslink.

In addition, smokeless tobacco use often creates unwanted and sometimes hazardous waste and byproducts that can be spilled both outdoors and indoors. These spills create more cleanup work for campus maintenance staff and harm the environment.

Will the use of e-cigarettes be permitted?

No. The FDA does not consider e-cigarettes to be a safe nicotine delivery system or smoking cessation strategy and their use is prohibited on university property for purposes of this policy. See FDA information on e-cigaretteslink.

Does the tobacco-free campus policy prohibit the use of chewing tobacco on campus?

Yes. The use of all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco products like chewing tobacco and snuff, is prohibited on all university property or in university vehicles for purposes of this policy.

Are clove cigarettes (Bidis or Kreteks) permitted?

No. The use of clove cigarettes is prohibited by the tobacco-free campus policy. The CDC reports that smoking clove cigarettes is associated with an increased risk for lung damage. See CDC information on clove cigaretteslink.

Will the use of tobacco-free hookahs be allowed on campus?

No. Hookahs, sometimes called water pipes, are prohibited by the tobacco-free campus policy. While some tobacco-free smoking materials are available for use in hookahs, there is insufficient research data to document that they are safe for use and that they will not pose a health risk to others. See CDC information on hookahslink.

Is the university requiring that people quit using tobacco products?

No. However, we are encouraging current tobacco users to explore this option. The university is committed to supporting all students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco products with cessation resources. Students, faculty, and staff choosing to continue using tobacco products may do so, but only on their own time and in areas not owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by UW-River Falls.

I supervise several employees who smoke. How will they manage under the new policy?

Should they choose to do so, employees may use their allotted work breaks to travel off-campus to smoke. However, employees will not be given additional break time for smoking. Supervisors must be clear with employees on this matter

Enforcement

How will this policy be enforced?

We are an institution of higher education; therefore, education is the key to implementing this policy. We make people aware of the tobacco-free environment through electronic information, signage, notices in event programs, and marketing. An explanation of the tobacco-free campus policy is communicated to prospective and enrolling students and new employees. Additionally, we ask event planners to include information about the policy in materials distributed to all outside groups that use university facilities.

The expectation is that persons will voluntarily comply with the policy. It is the responsibility of everyone on campus to politely inform others of the policy and ask that they put out their cigarette and/or stop using tobacco products on campus.

What should I do if I see someone smoking on university grounds?

Faculty, staff and students who see individuals smoking on university grounds are asked to inform these individuals politely that University policy prohibits smoking anywhere on university grounds. The following are suggested scripts to use as a helpful resource:

Example Script #1:
Situation: You see a person using tobacco products on UW-River Falls' property.
Response: "Hello. I want to make you aware that we are a tobacco-free campus. Tobacco products are prohibited on our grounds. We would appreciate if you would not use tobacco products while visiting our campus. Thank you for your cooperation."

Example Script #2:
Question: "Where am I allowed to smoke?"
Response: "If you need to smoke or use tobacco products you will need to leave the campus. You can find a map to help you identify university property at www.uwrf.edu/TobaccoFreeCampus."

Example Script #3:
For registration, pre-admission, and office staff who are speaking to students and families prior to a UW-River Falls campus visit:
"I'd like to let you know in advance that our campus is a tobacco-free environment. We work hard to support a safe and healthy and learning environment for everyone at UW-River Falls. Tobacco cessation resources are available for enrolled students, staff, and faculty."

What should managers/supervisors do if one of their employees violates the policy?

Violations of campus policy should be routed through the established discipline process.

What will the university do if there are reported concerns by owners of property adjacent to campus involving the accumulation of tobacco litter?

We will work with business owners and other property owners adjacent to university properties to address their concerns about the possibility of litter being left behind by tobacco users from our campus.

Boundaries

Are there designated smoking areas on campus?

Effective July 1, 2013, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is a tobacco-free campus. There will be no designated smoking areas on university grounds. Please see this campus map [link forthcoming] that identifies the campus boundaries.

What are the campus boundaries?

The boundaries include any property owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by UW-River Falls. For purposes of the tobacco-free campus policy, this includes property in the state of Wisconsin including but not limited to all buildings and structures, sidewalks, parking lots, walkways, parking lots and university-owned vehicles. Campus boundaries are identified on this campus map [link forthcoming].

In areas where the campus boundary is a city street, campus property typically ends before the sidewalk on the side closest to campus. However, there may be adjacent city streets where the sidewalk, or part of the sidewalk, is campus property (such as along Cascade Avenue). Regardless, we encourage persons not to stand on any public city sidewalk and smoke/use tobacco as this act blocks pedestrian traffic.

Is Ramer Field tobacco-free?

Yes. Ramer Field, both within the stadium and university grounds surrounding the stadium, are within the campus boundaries and are designated tobacco-free.

Are university parking lots included in the tobacco-free policy?

Yes. All parking lots on university grounds are covered by the tobacco-free policy.

Can I smoke in my car that is parked in a university parking lot?

No. Designated UW-River Falls parking lots are part of campus grounds and as such the tobacco-free policy prohibits individuals from smoking in parked cars on campus grounds.

Are recreational facilities, such as the Intramural Recreation Fields, included in the tobacco-free policy?

Yes. All recreational facilities, including the intramural fields, are incorporated in the tobacco-free campus policy.

Does the tobacco-free campus policy apply at university-sanctioned events or sporting activities occurring off of campus property?

The tobacco-free campus policy applies only to university owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled property. Events or activities scheduled elsewhere are bound by the policies or rules of the event coordinator or property manager.

Below are examples of possible language for announcements at University public events:

"The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is a tobacco-free campus.  No smoking or use of tobacco products is allowed on any campus grounds or in any facility.  Thank you for your cooperation."   

"A reminder that the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is a tobacco-free campus.  There is no smoking or use of tobacco allowed in any campus facility or on any campus grounds.  This does include e-cigarettes also.  Thank you for your cooperation."

Cessation

What resources are available to help those who want to quit using tobacco products?

Assistance to students, faculty, and staff to overcome addiction to tobacco products is made available through Student Health and Counseling Services. See the Cessation Resources page for more information and available resources.

How should I respond if someone I know expresses interest in quitting tobacco?

Congratulate them on the first step towards quitting, then let them know there are many free resources available to them including individual counseling. More information is available on the Cessation Resources page.

I'm not affiliated with the university.  Where can I get help to quit smoking?

Many resources exist to help you make this step toward a healthier lifestyle; check out some of your options on the Cessation Resources page.

I'm trying to quit; can I use nicotine replacement gum or patches to help?

Yes, forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches are permitted under the terms of this tobacco-free campus policy as recognized forms of cessation strategies.

Communication

How is this policy being communicated to campus groups and to potential visitors?

Efforts to publicize the new tobacco-free campus policy that takes effect July 1, 2013, will be varied and on-going. These include campus-wide e-mail communications, information on UWRF websites, student and staff presentations, and notification in print materials. Signs will be posted at building entrances/exits, in all parking lots, and at designated points in and around campus identifying the University of Wisconsin-River Falls as a tobacco-free campus.

How will people know that the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is a tobacco-free campus?

Signage indicating the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is a tobacco-free campus will be posted in all building entrances/exits, within parking lots, and at key points across campus.

Are there signs to tell people they can't use tobacco?

Notices bearing the message "Tobacco-Free Campus" and signs with the international symbol for tobacco-free or similar are posted at major university vehicular, pedestrian and building entrances. However, the tobacco-free campus policy applies to all university property whether or not a notice or sign is posted.

How should managers/supervisors talk to employees about the policy?

It is recommended that managers/supervisors inform all employees of this policy and seek their cooperation with compliance both in writing and in person. Supervisors are expected to communicate the university's tobacco cessation assistance opportunities to interested employees.