With the start of a new quarter comes new classes, new teachers and also new regulations. No ifs, ands or butts about it.

One such regulation is the UC-wide smoking ban, first announced on Jan. 9, 2012 by former University of California President Mark Yudof. The ban went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, prohibiting the use of cigarettes, cigars, oral tobacco, electronic cigarettes and all other tobacco products on the UC Santa Cruz campus and at all other properties owned, operated or leased by the UC.

“Its important to understand this is a system-wide policy that each university had to implement. There was very little latitude at the campus level,” said director of Risk Services and co-chair on the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy Implementation Committee Saladin Sale.

In President Yudof’s letter last January to the UC Chancellors, he noted that almost 600 other American universities already underwent smoke-free and “the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke by creating a smoke-free environment on all of our campuses.”

According to the Smoke and Tobacco Free Initiative fact sheet, UCSC maintains a lower percentage of tobacco users than the average state university. According to the fact sheet, approximately 8 percent of UC students smoke, compared to the 16 percent of California residents who smoke. In spite of these numbers, there are still quite a few UCSC tobacco users feeling the stressful effects accompanying the ban, said Senior Health Educator for Student Health Outreach and Promotion (SHOP) Alison Hayes.

UCSC adminstration will have the ability to enforce the policy using citations, fines up to $100 or disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct and other applicable University regulations and policies. The campus will respond to smokers who violate the ban by explaining it and educating them on the preventable health risks associated with smoking and direct them towards resources on campus available to students and faculty, Sale said.

According to the policy, any non-affiliated person, be it visitor, volunteer, contractor or vendor who violates the policy, may be asked to leave campus and not permitted to return.

Though education and support is the first approach, this is still a policy students need to respect, Hayes said.

The Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy Implementation Committee, established after former President Yudof’s 2012 announcement, had the difficult task of getting the word out about the policy. Hayes said a main challenge stems from the large size of UCSC’s campus.

Patrick Goff, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, said the Committee worked to install approximately 70 smoke and tobacco free signs in parking lots, 15 at trailheads, 27 in off-campus areas, 50 on objects like posts and tables, two at each entry, 40 portable signs for public events and about 780 stickers on entry doors.

In addition, the Committee worked closely with the Student Health Center for the past year to help assist those affected by this policy, Sale said. Meg Kobe, the director of SHOP, along with Alison Hayes, attempts to help students who smoke by assisting them with strategizing smoking cessation plans throughout the course of the ban.

“Meg and I have had more students in SHOP coming in for quit kits and information on smoking cessation in the past two months than we’ve had in the past 10 years,” Hayes said. “[Our goal is] to create a safe space for students to come in and reflect on their smoking, how it impacts their lives and to find personal motivators to help them quit.”

Quit kits are designed to aid students looking to quit or manage their smoking on campus, Hayes said. Inside these small boxes are straws and rubber bands, gum, lollipops, lifesavers, written resources with cessation plans and self-quizzes, steps to help psychologically prepare those wanting to quit and information about prescription and over-the-counter medication such as nicotine replacement therapies.

Sale hopes the community will come together to help enforce the rule by approaching tobacco users politely, engaging in respectful education and reporting non-compliance to identify problem areas on campus. Information cards and talking tips are also available at SHOP for students who want to help, Sale said.

“The most successful tool will not be the smoking police,” Sale said. “The key is in respectful conversation among the student body.”

For more information, visit the UC Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy page at ucop.edu or stop by SHOP located in the building on the left of the Health Center.


For more information, visit the UC Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy page at ucop.edu or stop by SHOP located in the building on the left of the Health Center.