Tobacco- Free Campus Policy

Policy FAQs

Smoking Cessation Programs


On March 8, 2012 the college hosted a regional conference on the establishment of “tobacco-free” college campuses. Ty Patterson, director of the National Center for Tobacco Policy, discussed the college’s new policy which we are phasing in this semester. http://youtu.be/qViMKM999aYDr. Dan Seidman, director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University’s Behavioral Medicine Program, visited Westchester Community College in the spring of 2012. He discussed smoking cessation strategies. http://youtu.be/DanrvtJxAOk

Westchester Community College is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. This policy was initiated  primarily in response to the overwhelming scientific and medical evidence indicating the serious health risks of second hand smoke. On January 1, 2012, we began asking for voluntary compliance of the new policy; the policy began to be strictly enforced on September 1, 2012.

Please help us celebrate this decision to join the more than 360 U.S. colleges and universities who are proud to be tobacco-free. We hope to set an example that will encourage others to embrace the spirit of health and wellness in our community.

Purpose
To ensure that all Westchester Community College facilities and properties are tobacco-free in an effort to provide the faculty, staff, students and visitors with a healthy, respectful working and learning environment. This policy applies to all students, employees (faculty, staff, and administrators), visitors, vendors and contractors.

Policy
Tobacco use is prohibited in all Westchester Community College facilities and outdoor areas.

The preponderance of evidence and the trends reflected in that evidence all indicate that tobacco use, smoking and exposure to second hand tobacco smoke are significant health hazards. Under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines, second hand smoke is a Group A carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), known to cause heart disease, cancer, respiratory issues and irritation of the eyes and nose.

Westchester Community College has been, and continues to be, committed to the health and well-being of its staff, faculty, administrators and students.  The college not only has a vested interest in the vitality of its students and those who administer and operate programs here, but also a role to play in the promotion and advancement of the general health of our society as a whole.

Out of respect for the environment and in keeping with Westchester Community College’s commitment to protect the health of its employees, students, visitors and all other constituencies, effective January 1, 2012, Westchester Community college became a Tobacco-Free institution.  No consumption of tobacco, or tobacco products, is permitted on any college property or in any college facility; this includes but is not limited to all buildings, grounds, pathways and thoroughfares within the campus property. The sale or sample distribution of cigarettes or other tobacco products are also prohibited.

We eased into this policy during the spring 2012 semester during a transitional period of gradual compliance, education, and understanding.

As a community, we are all responsible for providing a healthy, tobacco-free environment at the college. This is not solely the responsibility of the security officers. We do not expect our security staff to be the only individuals who will be part of the informational campaign. We should all be part of the effort to educate individuals about this new policy.

Meanwhile, for now, we have some suggestions for faculty, staff and students.

  • When discussing the policy with smokers, please be friendly and positive. Do not forget, you are talking to a fellow employee or student. Please be respectful at all times.
  • Please do not be confrontational if you see someone smoking. Instead, simply and politely remind the individual of the new policy. You may also suggest they go to the college website for details including online resources for those who want to quit smoking.
  • Do not request that a smoker put out his/her cigarette. Simply and politely remind smokers about the new policy and ask for their cooperation in observing it.
  • Do not approach individuals smoking in their cars.
  • The spring semester was an opportunity for smokers to begin adjusting their habits and was a good time to consider a smoking cessation program. The college offered a variety of educational events and workshops for those seeking to stop smoking. Although encouraging individuals to stop smoking is not our primary goal, we believe this new policy offers smokers an opportunity to quit.
  • If you are a smoker interested in quitting, you can get assistance at the New York State Smokers Quitline, 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or you can find resources at www.nysmokefree.com.
  • We all should realize that it is difficult to quit smoking. Some individuals have been smoking for years, or even decades. Quitting takes time and we all need to be aware of this. The policy was first publicized in the spring of 2011 and will not be strictly enforced until the fall of 2012. Ultimately, smokers will have had more than a year to adjust to the new policy.

Procedure
Organizers of public events on campus are responsible for communicating this policy to attendees.

Responsibilities: Faculty, staff and administrators have a mutual responsibility to share in the enforcement of this policy.  Individuals found in violation are to be reminded in a professional and courteous manner of the college policy.

Enforcement: As of September 1, 2012, the following tobacco policy will be strictly enforced:

All staff, faculty and administrators who notice someone smoking or using tobacco products are encouraged to politely communicate news of the new policy to smokers. If the individual is confrontational, or is a repeat offender, Security or the administrator in charge of the nearest building should be notified.

Employees
In the case of employees using tobacco, the individual’s supervisor will be contacted by Security or the building administrator, and all violations will be handled by the employee’s supervisor in conjunction with Human Resources on a case by case basis. If someone is smoking, all employees are encouraged to politely communicate news of the policy to that individual. If the individual is confrontational, or if that person is a repeat offender, Security or the administrator in charge of the nearest building should be contacted. Violations of the policy will be dealt with in the same manner as violations of other college policies. If a complainant makes a report or if a supervisor independently observes such behavior, the supervisor shall take the appropriate action. The severity of the action chosen will depend on the circumstances of each case. In such action, the full range of disciplinary sanctions will be available up to and including dismissal from the college.

Students
Violations by students should be reported to Security or to the administrator in charge of the nearest building. Security or the administrator will refer the student to the Student Development Office where the student will be required to discuss this Code of Conduct violation and possible sanctions. These sanctions could range from community service to disciplinary probation or suspension.

Visitors
Visitors who violate the Tobacco-Free Policy will be informed that Westchester Community College is a tobacco-free campus. Visitors who continue to violate the policy following a warning will be escorted off campus. Westchester Community College reserves the right to initiate a progressive disciplinary process against any individual found to be in violation of this policy.

Definitions
Tobacco Use: The act of using any tobacco product in any college facility or outdoor area, including but not limited to: chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and the act of smoking or carrying a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other smoking material or device.

Westchester Community College Facilities
Any facility or property that is owned, leased, used or occupied by the college, including but not limited to: private offices, lounges, dining areas, recreational facilities, storage areas, service shops, garages, sidewalks, facilities operations areas, athletic facilities, all college vehicles (owned or leased), and personally owned and rented vehicles when used to transport college faculty, staff, students and administrators on any college-related business, academic or student life activities. Outdoor Areas: Any Westchester Community College  outdoor area that is open to access by the public or campus community, including but not limited to parking lots, sidewalks, athletic fields, lawn areas and any college facility entrance or egress.