Contact Us

Vandal Health Ed

Health Education

Emily Tuschhoff

Health Education Coordinator

Phone: (208) 885-4146


Health Resource Room

1000 Paradise Creek Street

Room 102

Moscow, ID 83844-1230

Phone: (208) 885-4104

Policy FAQ

  • What is the difference between a smoke-free and tobacco-free policy?
    A smoke-free policy is one that limits or eliminates the use of smoke-producing tobacco. The primary concern of a smoke-free policy is secondhand smoke.

    A tobacco-free policy limits or eliminates the use of any tobacco product, including, but not limited to, spit tobacco, snus, other "smokeless" products, hookah, e-cigarettes, etc. The primary concern of a tobacco-free policy is overall health of the institution. 

  • Why go tobacco-free and not smoke-free?
    • “Tobacco free” emphasizes the health of all, including the user. “Smoke free” is primarily about the health of other people (due to secondhand smoke exposure). 

    • Allowing smokeless/spit tobacco products implies a bystander mentality. e.g. “It is fine if you harm yourself with spit/snus/etc. tobacco. Just don’t smoke.” 

    • Tobacco-free campuses help change the overall societal social norm about the acceptability of tobacco use. 

    • Many public K-12 schools are already tobacco free. Students will be accustomed to this policy. 

    • Eliminating spit tobacco would reduce waste on campuses (used tobacco, tobacco containers, spit containers, spit on sidewalks, etc.). 
    • A smoking-only ban could inadvertently cause a rise in other tobacco usage. With no smoking on campus, students may become more aware of spit tobacco use, perceiving it as “acceptable” behavior. The message becomes, “Students here can use spit tobacco.” Students should not perceive that any tobacco use is acceptable. 

    • A tobacco-free policy eliminates any confusion for faculty, staff, students and visitors about what is or is not allowed on campus. 

    • The university can send a clear message about being a place that promotes health. Tobacco is not a safe product, and it has no place on university campuses.

    • If the college/university becomes tobacco free, it could be a regional and national leader and set the standard for other universities. 

    • Grant funding could be affected by not having a tobacco-free campus policy. Many grants have recently added tobacco-free campus policies as part of their scoring. 

    • Smoke-free policies may only address cigarettes. A tobacco-free policy can be more comprehensive, prohibiting hookahs, pipes, and other devices for smoking tobacco. Thus further reducing harm from secondhand smoke and lowering fire risk.

    • Going tobacco-free is a concrete step a college can take to reduce the environmental impacts associated with tobacco use. 

    •  Tobacco-free policies prepare students to enter the workplace. Employers are increasingly seeking a tobacco-free workplace. 

  • Why not designated areas?
    • Smoking areas are difficult to enforce and require additional signage; the current policy to limit smoking near doorways is not enforced and not followed. 
    • Designated areas are more difficult to define undermining voluntary compliance. 
    • Smoking areas alter the perception of what is "normal" behavior on campus. Even though there may only be the same set of people in the smoking area, passers-by will come away with the impression that smoking prevalence is higher than it truly is. 
    • Smoking areas do not provide a healthy environment for all students, faculty, and staff members. There is no known safe exposure to secondhand smoke and there is no definite limit to how far smoke can travel. 
    • Smokers are even more at risk because they inhale the firsthand smoke and the secondhand smoke of those around them.  
    • Future students expect and demand a tobacco-free campus. The health environment of a campus may factor in on students enrollment decisions. 
    • Designated areas are likely to undermine a smoker's motivation to quit and their ability to quit and stay quit. 
    • Some locations that have installed shelters report smokers stop using the shelters over time because of the horrible smell and grime that build up. The shelters are something else for facilities management to clean. 
    • The campus would need to invest money into shelters, landscaping, cleaning, etc. 
  • Are University of Idaho students in favor of a smoke-free campus?
    • 985 UI students participated in a survey in the Fall 2013 Semester. This survey went through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the student group worked with the stats department to determine sample size needed. With 985 responses the sample size was more than enough for an accurate representation of student opinion for this campus population size. 
    • 62% of students favored a smoke-free policy and 51% of students favored a tobacco-free policy. 
    • A similar survey was given by ASUI on the 2012 Presidential Ballot with the same results further validating the student groups survey results. 
  • How will this policy be enforced?
    • Education and peer enforcement are the most widely used enforcement mechanisms while the campus and community become acclimated to the policy.
    • Other Universities that have gone tobacco-free have shown that with proper knowledge and proper signage on campus, enforcement was not necessary.
    • Tobacco free policies have been shown to be self enforcing with high compliance rates. 
  • Isn't it my right to use tobacco products?
    • Tobacco use is a legal product for adults, but Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to provide a healthy environment for all members. The University owns campus property and is thus able to establish policies that protect the health of all campus members.
    • A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit use; it simply establishes where use can occur.
    • Using tobacco products is a personal choice, not a constitutional right (there is no constitutional right to use tobacco products). A tobacco-free policy does not take away an individual’s right to choose to use tobacco products; however, it does limit where a person may choose to use tobacco. We respect an individual’s right to choose to use tobacco off campus. 
  • How many other colleges and universities have implemented a tobacco or smoke-free policy?
    • Tobacco/Smoke-free campuses are quickly becoming the norm, over 1182 campuses are smoke-free, and 811 are tobacco-free as of 1.2.2014. (American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation) 
  • Are e-cigarettes included?
    • Yes, the policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and any nicotine delivery device that has not been approved by the FDA for cessation. The FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as a "tobacco product" under the Tobacco Control Act. 
    • National health agencies remain skeptical of the safety of these devices due to lack of scientific data. 
    • For more information on e-cigarettes, check out our resources page. 
  • More questions to come!