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Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does the Smoke/Tobacco-Free policy go into effect?

The policy goes into effect on Sept. 1, 2017.

2. Whom does the policy affect?

The policy affects all members of the CSU community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, university volunteers, contractors or vendors, and visitors to any California State University campus or properties.

3. What “Smoke Free” products are included in policy and are therefore prohibited?

“Smoke Free” means the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other “smoke” emanating products including e-cigarettes, vapor devices and other like products are prohibited on all University properties.

“Smoke” or “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, cigarillo, pipe, hookah, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form. “Smoke” or “Smoking” also includes the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking.

4. What is considered a tobacco product and is therefore prohibited by the policy?

Tobacco products include all of the following:

◾A product containing, made or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means, including, but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and snuff.

◾An electronic device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, pipe, or hookah.

◾Any component, part, accessory of a tobacco product, whether or not sold separately.


“Tobacco product” does not include a product that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for sale as a tobacco cessation product or for other therapeutic purposes where the product is market and sold solely for such an approved purpose.

“Tobacco Free” means the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, snuffs, and other tobacco products are prohibited on all University property.

5. Why are e-cigarettes and vaporizers included in this policy?

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, though much about the risks associated with them is unknown. Even though some users state that these devices have helped them reduce or quit smoking traditional cigarettes and helped to reduce their nicotine addiction, there is currently little evidence that e-cigarettes or vaporizers can help you quit smoking.

Neither e-cigarettes nor vaporizers are FDA approved "quit smoking" aids. If the manufacturers wanted to make this claim, they would have to adhere to specific FDA standards and clinical trials. They have yet to apply for such status. Aside from being addictive, nicotine itself is toxic to humans. The nicotine vapor in e-cigarettes and vaporizers may send a more concentrated dose of nicotine into user’s body. Choosing a lower “juice” or fluid isn't necessarily a reliable way to decrease nicotine intake as these substances are not standardized or guaranteed to contain the chemicals they advertise. FDA tests have found that similarly labeled e-cigarette cartridges released widely varying levels of nicotine per puff and that even cartridges labeled as nicotine free still contained nicotine. Another concern is that e-cigarettes and vaporizers contain toxic contaminants in the fluid and/or vapor. The short term and long term consequences of inhaling these chemicals has yet to be determined.

However, all forms of FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum, nicotine inhalers, lozenges and patches are allowed.

6. Why is smokeless tobacco included in this policy?

•Smokeless tobacco spit is considered a biohazard and contains at least 24 carcinogenic chemicals.

•Spit tobacco often creates unwanted hazardous waste and byproducts, which then requires disposal by campus maintenance staff members.

•A dip of smokeless tobacco typically contains 3-5 times more nicotine than a cigarette. Research shows that smokers have difficulty switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco. Instead, many become dual users of both cigarettes and smokeless products – increasing the addiction.

•Smokeless tobacco use is a precursor to cigarette use. Specifically, adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

•Environmental concerns. Smokeless tobacco still uses the same tobacco manufacturing methods that cause deforestation, soil erosion, and poverty.

7. Hookah smoking can be tobacco free, so why does the policy prohibit it?

Hookah pipes (also known as water pipes, shisha) have a reputation for being the lesser of evils when it comes to smoking options, and from certain perspectives, this is true. Smoking a hookah doesn't have to mean smoking tobacco or taking in nicotine, which are common substances associated with smoking. But hookah smoking does have its own dangers — combusted charcoal — which carries health risks even when non-tobacco shisha is used.

When charcoal is burned to create the hookah effect, it releases chemicals in the process, namely carbon monoxide (CO) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). In addition to inhaling byproducts of the shisha, waterpipe smokers also inhale fairly large quantities of these combustionrelated toxins — a hidden health risk associated with hookah smoking, even for non-tobacco shisha.

8. What are the health consequences of secondhand smoke?

Exposure to secondhand smoke is known to cause death and disease and is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing more than 40,000 nonsmokers each year. The Surgeon General of the United States has concluded that there is no risk free level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found secondhand tobacco smoke to be a risk to public health, and has classified secondhand smoke as a group A carcinogen, the most dangerous class of carcinogen. Furthermore, the California Air Resources Board has categorized secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant.

9. Is there anywhere I can smoke or use tobacco?

Neither smoking nor the use of tobacco products are permitted within the boundaries of University properties. Once outside the boundaries of University properties, smoking and use of tobacco products is subject to local jurisdiction.

10. Can I use tobacco in my own vehicle within the smoke-free zones?

No, a vehicle parked on a CSUSB parking lot/structure or on a street within the borders of the CSUSB campus is still within the boundaries of the smoke-free zone, and must be moved off-campus if you want to smoke within the vehicle.

11. How do smokers know what is not University property?

The University does not own the sidewalks and streets that border its campus (sidewalks and streets inside campus are University property). We ask that Cal State San Bernardino faculty, staff, alumni, students, and visitors be courteous when going off campus to smoke or use tobacco products by disposing of tobacco products and packaging in appropriate receptacles and being aware of others nearby who may not wish to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

12. Are there designated smoking areas on campus?

Effective September 1, 2017, all California State University campuses shall be 100 percent Smoke Free and Tobacco Free. The use of designated smoking areas are prohibited.

13. How should people know that the University is a smoke/tobacco-free campus?

Signage indicating that CSUSB is a smoke/tobacco-free campus will be posted in all high traffic building entrances/exits, parking lots, and at key points across campus.

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

The communications plan will include but is not limited to:

•Notification of policy to current and prospective students and employees through communication available on University websites;

•Notification during the admission and enrollment process and/or during new hire orientation for faculty and staff;

•Informational meetings, postings, and electronic notifications

•Campus signage

•Various print and digital media

•Social media platforms

•Communications to outside groups using CSUSB facilities


•Media exposure on and off campus

15. Why should I comply?

We hope civility and respect for others will guide all of us during the transitioning toward a smoke/tobacco-free campus. We realize this policy may be challenging for some smokers and tobacco users but we hope that smokers and tobacco users will respect the rights of their fellow members of the CSUSB community to breathe smoke-free air. We also hope non-smokers who remind violators of the smoke/tobacco-free policy will do so with courtesy and civility.

16. How will compliance with the smoke and tobacco free policy be ensured?

Compliance is grounded in an informed and educated campus community. The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, civility and cooperation of all members of the campus community, including visitors.

Members of the CSU community are individually responsible to comply with the creation of a systemwide smoke and tobacco free environment.

Educational campaigns, outreach, communication and the promotion of tobacco cessation treatment options will be the primary means to promote compliance. A comprehensive education and outreach campaign, including resources and referrals for cessation will be made available as part of campus implementation programs.

17. What should I do if I see someone smoking on University grounds?

Faculty, staff, and students who see individuals smoking on University properties may (but are not required to) respectfully inform these individuals of the University policy prohibiting smoking/tobacco use anywhere on University properties. However, threatening and/or violent interpersonal conduct regarding compliance with the terms of this executive order will not be tolerated and may result in discipline pursuant to system-wide or campus policies.

18. Do I have to quit using tobacco?

No. The policy prohibits smoking and using tobacco products on all CSU properties, but individuals are not required to quit. While quitting is not required, one goal of the systemwide smoke and tobacco free policy is to increase knowledge and utilization of available cessation resources in order to improve the health and well-being of our community. Environmental policy is a key public health intervention to promote behavior change over time by redirecting available resources, shifting cultural and social norms, and increasing public awareness of wellness issues.

Research shows that most tobacco users are interested in quitting but do not know of existing resources to help them to quit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of tobacco users tried to quit at least once in the past year and nearly 7 out of 10 (68.0%) adult smokers in the US report that they want to quit completely. Every attempt to quit increases a smokers’ likelihood of successfully stopping smoking, and most smokers attempt to quit at least 7 times before they are successful.

19. Students, faculty, and staff may choose to leave campus to smoke. What about the personal safety of these individuals, especially in the early morning or evening when it is dark?

CSUSB encourages all individuals to be mindful of their personal safety while on or off campus. Medications such as the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray or inhaler are options that can be considered to meet nicotine needs without leaving campus. Consult your healthcare provider to discuss medication options.

20. Do smoke/tobacco-free policies really help?

Yes! According to the CDC, smoking bans and restrictions lead to a reduction in the amount of daily smoking among students and employees and an increase in the number of individuals who stop smoking. Smoke/tobacco-free campuses and workplaces reduce the risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer due to secondhand smoke exposure.

21. Whom do I contact if I have additional questions about the policy?

For comments or questions regarding this policy, members of the campus community and the community at large are encouraged to visit the CSUSB smoke and tobacco free policy website at

22. What should I do if I have questions about how this policy impacts me as an employee or a supervisor?

Please contact Human Resources at

23. How will a 100 percent smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus policy impact enrollment?

There is no association between the adoption of a 100% smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free campus policy and a decrease in student enrollment. In fact, many colleges and universities promote a healthy and tobacco-free campus environment as a way of increasing enrollment.

24. Isn’t this smoke-free policy a violation of my civil and constitutional rights?

There is no “right to smoke” under state or federal law.

25. Does the smoke-free policy apply to tailgate gatherings and events at outdoor stadiums and fields?

Yes. All events that take place on CSUSB property, including tailgate gatherings and outdoor events, still fall into the smoke-free zones.

26. How will this change make a positive difference at CSUSB?

CSUSB is committed to protecting the health and safety of university employees, students and visitors on the CSUSB main campus and ancillary campuses and properties. Creating a smoke-free environment allows for a healthy, comfortable and productive living, learning and working environment.

27. What will be done with the ashtrays around campus?

Ashtrays will be removed from campus because they are a receptacle for a product that will no longer be used on CSUSB property.

28. Can I use the money I put aside in my flexible spending account to pay for costs related to smoking cessation aids and counseling that are not covered by insurance?

Money set aside in your flexible spending account can be used for your out-of-pocket expenses toward smoking cessation paraphernalia including counseling with a doctor's prescription

29. Will the policy remain in effect on weekends?

The smoke-free policy is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week.