Policy FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


When is UAlbany going tobacco- and smoke-free?
The University at Albany is currently preparing to become a 100% Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus in January 2020. To help you prepare for this transition and for updates, please check out the resources on this website.

According to President Rodriguez, “This decision was carefully made following recommendations from two presidential working groups and based on our commitment to the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the thousands of visitors who come to our campus each year…I am confident that this initiative will provide a healthier, cleaner, and safer environment for all members of our UAlbany community.”

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Why is tobacco use being addressed versus other health risks?
In the United States, tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death, and second-hand smoke has been identified as the third leading cause of preventable death. A tobacco- and smoke-free campus is a clear expression of the University's investment in the health and well-being of its members and in promoting respect for all people and our environment. A tobacco- and smoke-free campus aligns well with the University's promotion of individual and community wellness and reflects the University's commitment to accessibility and sustainability.

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What will be prohibited under the new policy that will take effect in January 2020?
Prohibited items will include, but are not limited to blunts, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, clove cigarettes, cigars, pipes, dipping tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookah, marijuana (natural or synthetic), queen's tobacco-pipe, loose leaf, shag (rolling tobacco), smokeless tobacco, snuff, Snus, Bidis, vapers, and all other tobacco, smoking, electronic smoking, and vaping products and devices.

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Aren't E-Cigarettes safe?
No. A 2018 published study has found 5 cancer-causing toxins in E-Cigarette vapor that is inhaled by the user and breathed out into the air others breathe. Additional recent research also indicates that E-Cigarettes lead to quick harmful effects on arteries of the user. Furthermore, another study of close to 70,000 individuals found that daily use of E-Cigarettes can double heart attack risk for the user.

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Don't E-Cigarettes help people not smoke cigarettes?
No. A separate 2018 published study has found that past month E-Cigarette use predicts future cigarette use as users are up to 7 times more likely to smoke cigarettes later.

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What areas of campus will the policy to be implemented in January 2020 cover?
The tobacco- and smoke-free policy will apply to all UAlbany facilities, property, and vehicles owned, regardless of location. Smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco- and smoke-related products will not be permitted in any enclosed place, including, but not limited to all offices, classrooms, hallways, waiting rooms, restrooms, meeting rooms, community areas, performance venues, and private residential space within UAlbany housing. Smoking and vaping and the use of tobacco- and smoke-related products will also be prohibited outdoors on all UAlbany campus property, including but not limited to parking lots, paths, fields, sports/recreational areas, and stadiums, as well as in all personal vehicles while on campus. 

Littering the campus with the remains of smoking and tobacco products or any other related waste product is prohibited.

This policy will apply to all students, faculty, staff, and other persons on campus, regardless of the purpose for their visit. In addition, all events hosted by UAlbany, and by outside groups in our facilities, will be tobacco- and smoke-free.

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Will there be any designated smoking areas on campus?
During this 2019 transition year there will be designated smoking areas on campus. A map of those areas will be made available on this website.

Once the policy goes into effect in January 2020, there will be no designated smoking areas on campus and the University will be 100% tobacco- and smoke-free.  The aim of UAlbany's tobacco- and smoke-free policy is to create a healthier environment to live, work, and learn. The University promotes healthy lifestyles and provides assistance for students and employees who are ready to quit and for those who need to manage their addiction symptoms while on campus.

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Don’t people have a right to smoke on campus?
No, there is no “right” to smoke under either state or federal law. In addition, prohibiting smoking and the use of tobacco products on campus preserves everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air while allowing adults who smoke and use tobacco products to continue to do so off-campus. The decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

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How will policy compliance be encouraged?
While there will be signage to remind people of the policy, compliance with the policy is the responsibility of each member of the UAlbany community. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and volunteers are expected to comply with the policy for their facilities and/or sponsored activities. Individuals are encouraged and empowered to respectfully inform others about the policy in an ongoing effort to support others to be tobacco-free, promote a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment and encourage a culture of compliance.
Further details regarding policy compliance and enforcement processes will be forthcoming as additional information becomes available.
Everyone's responsibility as a campus community member is to comply with this policy in a courteous, respectful and cooperative manner. When people politely approach a person who does not observe the policy, most individuals will comply.

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Do other colleges and universities ban tobacco use on campus?
There are now over 1,800 tobacco- and smoke-free campuses in the U.S. A complete list of tobacco- and smoke-free universities is available online.

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Will the University provide cessation resources?
Yes. We will offer options and resources to help both students and employees quit tobacco use or manage their cravings for tobacco while on campus. Please check out the resources on this website for additional information..

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Where can I provide feedback and ask questions about this policy?
All feedback and questions can be directed to the co-chairs of the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Albany Steering Committee at Tobacco-FreeUAlbany@albany.edu. The co-chairs are:

Estela M. Rivero, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Health, Counseling, and Behavioral Health

M. Dolores Cimini, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research

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Contact Us

Questions? Feedback?
Email the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free UAlbany Steering Committee Co-Chairs at TobaccoFreeUAlbany@albany.edu


Co-chairs:


Estela M. Rivero, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for
Student Affairs Health,
Counseling, and Behavioral Health

M. Dolores Cimini, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research