University of Hawaii Implements System-Wide Tobacco Products Policy

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Jan 10, 2003

In an effort to improve the working and learning environment of the university and protect faculty, staff, students, and visitors from secondhand smoke exposure, the University of Hawaiʻi announced the implementation of a tobacco products policy effective today that not only prohibits smoking in various outdoor areas, but also prohibits the sale of tobacco products on campuses, the sponsorship of campus events or organizations by tobacco companies, and calls for cessation guidance to be provided to individuals who wish to quit their smoking habit. The policy was created by a university-wide coalition of faculty, staff, and students, and affects all 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi system.

"Hawaiʻi is one of the healthiest places on Earth and as a state we have been extremely forward thinking in our commitment to public health," said UH President Evan S. Dobelle. "Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and I am proud that UH is taking an important step toward ensuring the health and safety of the entire community."

The previous university policy prohibited smoking in common workplaces or areas where smoke could drift or be carried to other occupied spaces; all interior areas open to the public, including service counters, reception or waiting areas, lobbies, and restrooms; elevators, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, and enclosed auditoriums; dining rooms and cafeterias; and laboratories and other high hazard areas.

In addition to these areas, the revised policy now prohibits smoking in:

All interior space owned, rented, or leased by the university;

In building courtyards, breezeways, and terraces, on exterior stairways and access ramps, and outdoor dining patios, terraces, and lanais;

Within 20 feet of building entrances, exits, air intake ducts, vents, and windows of buildings that are not air-conditioned;

Within 50 feet of designated pick-up and drop-off points for campus and public bus transportation;

Within the gates of the university‘s outdoor sports and performing arts stadiums and arenas, including walkways, corridors, and seating areas; and,

Any area that has been designated by the person having control of the area as a non-smoking area and marked with a no smoking sign.

The "voluntary" policy will rely on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers as it will not be enforced through disciplinary measures. However, other university policies and state laws and rules may be applicable.

The new policy also includes provisions not stated in the previous policy, which include the prohibition of advertising and sales of tobacco products on university campuses, the distribution of samples of tobacco products or coupons redeemable for tobacco products on university campuses, and the sponsorship of campus events or campus organizations by tobacco industry or tobacco promoting organizations.

In addition, all university residences, both faculty and student, will become 80 percent smoke-free by the start of the 2003-2004 academic year. By the start of the 2004-2005 academic year, all university residences will be completely smoke-free. Currently, in dorms on the UH Mānoa campus, smoking is only prohibited in common areas such as lanais, lounges, interior courtyards, building front entrance areas, etc., of halls not designated as substance-free halls.

Most importantly, the policy also calls for on-site tobacco product cessation guidance to be made available to assist and encourage individuals who wish to quit. It also allows for supervisors to authorize employees who wish to avail themselves of such on-campus programs to do so without any loss in pay.

The Center for Substance Abuse at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is leading the cessation program, which will include developing cessation guidance opportunities and training volunteers at all campuses. Some of the services that will be provided include individual counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, group counseling, and even referrals to off-campus clinic programs. At UH Mānoa, there will be no charge for students to participate in the cessation program. A fee of $10 will be applicable for staff and faculty, while a fee for nicotine replacement options can be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on health insurance.

The Office of the Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer is responsible for policy implementation and compliance in collaboration with the heads of all UH campuses. Each campus administrator has designated an office that will handle inquiries and complaints regarding the policy.

Initiated and created by the UH Community Partnership for Health and Fresh Air, a coalition of UH faculty, staff, students, and supporters, the policy is supported by and has been implemented with the assistance and guidance of the State Department of Health‘s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program and the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi.

For more information about campus contacts, cessation programs, or the policy itself, visit

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