UTSA campuses will be tobacco-free and smoke-free effective June 1

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Tobacco-Free Campus

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(May 28, 2014) -- Effective June 1, the UTSA campuses will be tobacco-free and smoke-free. This comes after a one-year transition period during which smoking and tobacco were permitted only in designated areas on campus.

>> Read more about the background of the UTSA tobacco-free policy.

>> UTSA is committed to supporting students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco products. For students, resources are available through Student Health Services. For employees, resources are available through the Employee Assistance Program. Additionally, tobacco cessation classes are available for faculty and staff. The next session begins June 24 at University Heights. For more information or to sign up for the tobacco cessation sessions, email wellness@utsa.edu or call 210-458-5304.

Members of the UT Select health insurance plan can find information about tobacco cessation counseling and pharmacy benefits at the UT System Living Well website.

Below are Frequently Asked Questions about the changes for the UTSA community.

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FAQ: UTSA Tobacco-free and Smoke-free policy

Q1. Are there designated smoking or tobacco use areas on campus?

A. No. Effective June 1, 2014, smoking and tobacco use are not permitted on the UTSA campuses including parking lots and parking garages.

Q2. How is the policy enforced?

A. As an institution of higher education, education is key to implementing this policy. Signs around campus reflect that UTSA is a tobacco-free campus. The Tobacco-Free Campus policy will be communicated to prospective and enrolling students and new employees. Event planners also will be asked to include information about the policy in materials distributed to outside groups that use university facilities.

Voluntary compliance with the policy is expected. It is the shared responsibility of all members of the campus community to respect and abide by this policy.

Q3. What if people don't abide by the policy?

A. The university will evaluate reports of repeated concerns and implement actions for resolution using existing methods of enforcement for university policy violations. Violations could result in referral to the appropriate university officials for disciplinary action in accordance with other established student, staff and/or faculty codes of conduct and procedures.

Students: Any behavioral concerns associated with the tobacco-free policy by students will be reported to Student Conduct and Community Standards through the established behavioral referral form. The form is on the Student Conduct website.

Faculty, staff, contractors and visitors: Any behavioral concerns associated with the tobacco-free policy by faculty, staff, contractors and visitors may be reported to Audit, Compliance and Risk Services through the established compliance Web referral form or by directly calling the compliance hotline number at 1-877-270-5051. For the referral form and more hotline information, visit the ACRS website.

Q4. Does the policy apply to areas within campus housing?

A. Yes. Campus housing will follow the university smoke-free and tobacco-free policy effective June 1, 2014.

Q5. Does the Tobacco-free Campus policy apply at university-sanctioned events or sporting activities occurring at off-campus property (i.e. Alamodome)?

A. The Tobacco-free Campus policy applies only to university owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled property. Events or activities scheduled off campus are bound by the policies and procedures set by the property or property manager.

Q6. What is the UTSA definition of a prohibited tobacco product for this policy?

A. The policy defines prohibited tobacco products as including but not limited to cigarettes (of any kind including herbal/spice cigarettes), cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookah), bidis, kreteks, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff and chewing tobacco. Note: Medications with controlled amounts of nicotine that are used to aid in quitting smoking are not considered tobacco products. A list of these medications can be found at the SmokeFree.gov website.

Q7. Are there signs to tell people they can't use tobacco?

A. Notices bearing the message "Tobacco-Free Campus" and signs with the international symbol for "tobacco-free" or something similar are posted at major vehicular, pedestrian and building entrances. However, the Tobacco-free Campus policy applies to all university property, whether or not a notice or sign is posted.

Q8. Have other universities implemented a tobacco-free campus?

A. Yes, some as early as 2003, and the number continues to increase. More than 600 college and university campuses across the United States have smoke-free or tobacco-free campuses. In the UT System, Arlington, Brownsville, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Southwestern and Austin are tobacco-free. Texas State University, Austin Community College and all San Antonio Alamo Colleges also are tobacco-free.

Q9. UTSA was smoke-free in buildings for many years. What led to the expansion of the policy in 2013 to cover all university grounds and all tobacco use?

A. Discussion about UTSA becoming tobacco-free began with requests from the UTSA Staff Council and faculty members to President Ricardo Romo. UTSA recognizes its social responsibility to promote the health, well-being and safety of all university students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Q10. What should I do if I see a visitor using tobacco on university property?

A. The following is a suggested script to use as a helpful resource:

Situation: You see a person using tobacco products on UTSA property.
Response: "Hello. I want to make you aware that UTSA is a tobacco-free campus. Tobacco products are prohibited on our grounds. We would appreciate it if you would not use tobacco products while visiting our campus. Thank you for your cooperation."