Tobacco-Free Policy FAQ’s

 Policy

When does the tobacco-free policy start?
The new policy went into effect on January 1, 2012 and will be strictly enforced as of September 1, 2012.

What is the college’s tobacco-free policy?
For further information, please click here.

What is a Westchester Community College facility?
A college facility is defined as any facility or property that is owned, leased, used or occupied by the college, including but not limited to: classrooms, restrooms, auditoriums, offices, lounges, dining areas, recreational facilities, storage areas, service shops, garages, walkways, thoroughfares, facilities operations areas, athletic facilities, extension locations, all college vehicles (owned or leased), and personally owned or rented vehicles when used to transport College faculty, staff or students on any school-related business, academic or student life activities.

Who does this policy affect?
This policy applies to the entire college community including but not limited to:  students, employees (faculty, staff, and administrators), trustees, visitors, volunteers, vendors, and contractors who are on property and facilities owned or operated by Westchester Community College.

How does this policy differ from the previous policy?
Whereas the previous policy prohibited smoking in specific areas, this policy promotes a healthy environment by eliminating any form of tobacco use anywhere on campus.

Boundaries

Are outdoor areas covered by this policy?
Yes.  All outdoor areas are covered by this policy.

Are there designated smoking areas on campus?
No.  There are no designated smoking areas on campus.

Can I smoke in my personal car?
At this time, the college chooses not to enforce the tobacco-free policy for those who choose to smoke in their personal vehicles with closed windows.

Are the off campus extension locations tobacco-free?
Yes. The free standing extension locations, Ossining, Mount Vernon, Peekskill, Center for the Arts), and Yonkers/Cross County are all tobacco-free.  The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) is also tobacco-free.  All high school sites are tobacco-free in accordance with New York State Law.

Are other colleges tobacco-free?
Yes. There is a growing trend of tobacco-free campuses both nationwide and locally.  Westchester Community College is proud to be among them.

Cessation and Education Programs

What is Westchester Community College doing to assist those who use tobacco and want to quit?
As part of Westchester Community College’s initiative to become a tobacco-free campus, we have held a number of informational sessions, smoking cessation workshops, and public events during which we shared a variety of resources for students, faculty and staff who would like to stop using tobacco.

Enforcement

How will this policy be enforced?
Westchester Community College’s primary goal is to achieve 100% voluntary compliance with the tobacco-free policy by educating students, faculty, staff, and visitors about the policy.   Voluntary compliance is strongly preferred, however, it should be noted that the policy will be enforced.  Violation of this policy could result in disciplinary actions. .

What should I do if I see someone smoking on Westchester Community College grounds?
Members of the campus community who see individuals using tobacco on college grounds are asked to inform these individuals politely that college policy prohibits tobacco use anywhere on campus grounds.  Faculty and staff who do not feel comfortable approaching someone violating the policy should contact the administrator in charge of the nearest building or a security officer. We expect all members of the college community to treat each other with dignity and respect, support each other, and embrace a spirit of having a healthy living, learning, and working environment.

Rights

Don’t I have a right to smoke on campus?
No.  There is no “right” to use tobacco under either state or federal law.  Additionally, court rulings maintain that smokers do not have the legal right to expose others to secondhand smoke, a Class-A carcinogen, and they are not entitled to protection against discrimination as “addicts” or as “disabled persons.” (http://www.dath.org/pdf/constitutional-right.pdf).

Establishing a tobacco-free campus preserves everyone’s right to breathe smoke-free air in a cleaner campus environment, while allowing adults who choose to use tobacco to continue to do so off-campus. The college’s policy is based upon respect for others and for the environment, and supports the rights and privileges of both tobacco users and non-users alike.

Does the policy prohibit me from bringing cigarettes or other tobacco products to a WCC facility?
No. Only the actual or apparent use (e.g., ‘smoking’ an unlit cigarette) of such products on campus is prohibited.

Why should I comply?
Civility and respect for others are what guide us in establishing and maintaining a tobacco-free campus. While this policy may be difficult for tobacco users at first, we hope that all members of the college community will respect each other and the environment.

Faculty/Staff Concerns

How should managers/supervisors talk to employees about the policy?
The tobacco-free policy is a quality of life issue for all members of the campus.  Managers/ supervisors should inform all employees of this policy and employees are expected to comply.

I supervise several employees who smoke. How will they manage under the new policy?
Should they choose to do so, employees may use their allotted meal periods to travel off-campus to smoke. However, employees will not be given additional meal or break time for smoking. Supervisors must be clear with employees on this matter.

What should managers/supervisors do if one of their employees violates the policy?
As with all policies, violations of this policy should be routed through the progressive discipline process.