Q: Why is Gustavus Adolphus College implementing a tobacco-free campus policy?

A: Gustavus Adolphus College is committed to providing a healthy and safe campus environment for its students, faculty, staff and visitors. The tobacco-free campus policy is an extension of any employee and student wellness initiative designed to create a healthier and more productive campus community. Substantial research demonstrates the damaging effects of tobacco to users and persons who experience second-hand smoke as a result of that use. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 95% of addicted adult smokers started using tobacco before they reached 21 years old. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing an estimated 443,000 annually (Health and Human Services, 2014). Exposure to second-hand smoke causes more than 50,000 deaths annually (Health and Human Service, 2014) and tobacco users are 33 percent more likely to be absent from work than non-tobacco users (Weng,et al 2013). Tobacco-free workplaces are by far the norm, and a tobacco-free campus prepares students for this post-diploma reality.

Q: Is Gustavus Adolphus College the only institution with a tobacco-free campus policy?

A. No. In fact, Gustavus is behind many of its peers both locally and across the nation. Nationally, all institutions prohibit smoking in campus buildings, and as of July 1, 2018, there are 1,853 campuses that prohibit tobacco use of any kind on campus.

Q: What is prohibited on campus?

A: The policy prohibits the use of any item containing tobacco intended for human consumption, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The policy also includes the use of any vapor product. Hookahs are not permitted anywhere on campus. 

Q: When will the policy go into effect and where will it be enforced?

A: The policy will go into effect on July 1, 2018. The use of all tobacco products and vapor products will be prohibited on Gustavus property.

Q: Does the policy apply to everyone?

A: The policy applies to all Gustavus students, faculty, staff, as well as visitors and vendors on all Gustavus property, regardless of location. Smoking and the use of tobacco products and vapor products is prohibited in any enclosed place owned by the College, including, but not limited to, all offices, classrooms, hallways, community areas, performance venues, motorized vehicles and residential spaces within college housing, as well as all outdoor locations that are part of the Gustavus property.

Q: How will the policy be enforced?

A: Students who refuse to comply with this policy should be reported to the Dean of Students, or designee, who will follow up with the student regarding the policy and tobacco use cessation support resources available through the campus. Continued violations will result in appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Conduct Code.

Employees who refuse to comply with this policy should be reported to their immediate supervisor, Human Resources or Campus Safety, who will follow up with the employee regarding the policy and tobacco use cessation support resources available through the campus. Continuing violations will result in appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the policy sanctions as listed below.

Q: What are the sanctions?

A: Gustavus Adolphus College Campus Safety and Residential Life staff will use their discretion when enforcing this policy. If a violation of the policy is committed by a Gustavus student, staff or faculty member, a citation and fine may be issued and posted on the offender's student or employee account in the finance office. Compliance with the tobacco-free policy is considered a standard part of job performance for all employees. Repeated failure by faculty or staff to abide by the policy may be addressed through informal discussions between the employee and their immediate supervisor.

Our hope is to achieve voluntary compliance with the tobacco free policy, aided by community enforcement of its terms. Clear challenges are associated with the enforcement of this policy, however similar to all college policies, we each have a responsibility to comply. While not preferred, if necessary, disciplinary actions for violation, tailored to each constituency within the community, may be implemented.

Q: What should I do if I see someone using tobacco?

A: We encourage using a kind, thoughtful and educational approach when someone is seen using tobacco. Example: "Hello, my name is _________(your name) and I am a(n) __________(position) here at Gustavus. Are you aware that we do not allow the use of tobacco products of any kind on campus? I ask you to please respect our policy and put your cigarette out (or other tobacco product) and dispose of it in a trash can. Thank you for complying with our policy."

Q: Are there any exceptions to this policy?

A: Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the President’s designated college official in advance of use. Exceptions may occur in controlled laboratory research or other mission related controlled activities and must also be preceded by reasonable advance notice to the public, educational, or research group. Specific activities used in connection with the practice of cultural activities by American Indians that are in accordance with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 U.S.C. sections 1996 and 1996a) handled in accordance with Gustavus protocols are exempt from this policy.

Q: Can students and employees use tobacco in their own vehicle?

A: No. If a student’s or employee’s vehicle is on Gustavus owned property, it cannot be used as a designated tobacco use area. You can use tobacco products off campus. We ask that all Gustavus representatives, students, employees and visitors show respect to our neighbors by refraining from trespassing on private property to use tobacco. 

Q: Is Gustavus forcing people to stop using tobacco products?

A: No. Gustavus is not asking anyone to quit. The policy only prohibits the use of tobacco products on Gustavus owned property. If interested in cessation services, please click here. 

Q: Why are there no receptacles or ash trays by areas where people tend to smoke?

A: Since tobacco products are not allowed anywhere on campus, placing ashtrays, butt receptacles, or trash cans sends the wrong message. By having receptacles for butts, it implicitly says that smoking is encouraged in that area. This would be inconsistent with the policy.

Q: How will visitors be informed about the tobacco-free campus?

A: Signage will be prominently displayed at all entrances to Gustavus and entrances to campus buildings as well as athletic fields and other open areas, such as the Linnaeus Arboretum. Areas like admissions, athletics, and other units that welcome visitors to campus will want to address this policy with visitors prior to, or when they attend campus events.

Q: Is Gustavus crossing a line in trying to dictate people's choice?

A: Tobacco and smoking is harmful to human health, although the use of tobacco is a personal choice. Tobacco policies in a workplace and living/learning environment is not uncommon. Court rulings maintain that tobacco users do not have the legal right to expose others to second-hand smoke, which is considered a Class A carcinogen (United States Environmental Agency, 1993). Additionally, people who smoke or use tobacco are not entitled to protection against discrimination as "addicts" or as "disabled persons." There is no legal right to smoke. Prohibiting tobacco on campus provides access to clean, smoke-free air while allowing adults who use tobacco to continue to do so off-campus. This decision supports the rights and privileges of all.