Frequently Asked Questions: SUNY Cortland Tobacco-free Policy1

Note that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is offering consumers an online tool to report health problems stemming from using e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarettes, hookah tobacco and other tobacco-related products.  Learn more about this initiative.

1. What tobacco products are covered by this policy? 
Tobacco is defined as all tobacco and tobacco-derived products intended for human consumption including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, hookah or water-pipe devices, pipes, smokeless products, clove cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco (chew), snus, Juuls, vape, etc.

2. Why are e-cigarettes, vape, and Juuls included in this policy? Why prohibit smokeless products when they do not affect the health of those around the individual using the products?
Electronic cigarettes and other inhaling devices are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. The FDA does not regulate these products, and many of them have very hazardous and harmful ingredients. SUNY Cortland's tobacco-free policy aims to promote a health environment including cleaner, safer air where everyone can live, work and learn. Prohibiting these items is consistent with the intent of the policy.

Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative either. There is significant burden placed on society when tobacco users confront health-related issues such as oral cancers. Additionally, spitting that sometimes accompanies smokeless tobacco is unsanitary.

3. Where is the policy in effect?
It is in effect everywhere within the perimeter of SUNY Cortland property, both indoors and outdoors, including campus student housing and grounds, any vehicle on SUNY Cortland property, including College-owned and personal vehicles, and at all College-sponsored off-campus events.

4. Why can't there be a designated smoking and tobacco use area?
Being tobacco-free supports the SUNY Cortland campus priority of "wellness" while preserving respect for others and the environment. The policy prepares students for increasingly tobacco-free workplaces. Having designated smoking areas implies that tobacco use is acceptable. They have also been found not to work as people tend to stray from these areas while using tobacco.

5. What is my responsibility as a campus community member with regard to the policy? What should I say and do if I see someone violating the policy?
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 is not observing the policy, most individuals will comply. The policy is driven by respect for others and the environment and relies on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of tobacco users and non-users for it's success. Remember  S M A R T.


M=make the assumption that they do not know or remember the policy.

A=approach them in a positive way by introducing yourself.

R=remind them that we are tobacco free and there are resources for them.

T=thank them for their cooperation.

Sample script 1: You see a person using products on campus property. Your response, "Hello, my name is _____ and I (work/am a student) here. What's your name? I'm pleased to meet you. Just so you know, SUNY Cortland is tobacco free which means no tobacco or tobacco/nicotine products can be used anywhere on our grounds. We would appreciate it if you would not use tobacco products while on our campus. Thank you for your cooperation."

Sample script 2: A person asks you, "So where am I allowed to smoke (use tobacco/nicotine-related products)?" You respond, "There is no location on campus that smoking/tobacco use is permitted."

6. What if someone continues to use tobacco after I have reminded them about the policy? 

Repeated non-compliance may be referred through the appropriate student conduct or employee supervisory system for resolution.

8. What if my guest is in violation of this policy?

Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests.

9. When did SUNY Cortland's tobacco-free policy go into effect?

January 1, 2013.

 1SUNY Cortland Tobacco Advisory Committee wishes to acknowledge that some of the answers to these FAQ’s were based on information gathered from the following campus websites: University at Buffalo, University of Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington University in St. Louis.

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