Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

Ohio University supports a smoke and tobacco-free campus as a wellness initiative to protect the health of students, faculty, staff, and guests in keeping with the recommendation of the Ohio Board of Regents in July 2012. Becoming a smoke and tobacco-free campus encourages respect for others and respect for the environment.

Along with The American College Health Association (ACHA), Ohio University also “acknowledges and supports the findings of the Surgeon General that tobacco use in any form, active and/or passive, is a significant health hazard….further recognizes that environmental tobacco smoke has been classified as a Class-A carcinogen and that there is no safe level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, a recognized toxic air contaminant” (Nov. 2011, ACHA Position Statement [PDF]).

A smoke and tobacco-free OHIO campus encourages a green and clean environment, prepares our students for other tobacco-free environments in their future, and can be a source of OHIO pride in supporting a major wellness initiative. Review the full Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy.

Who, What, Where


The prohibition applies to all members of the university community, including employees, students, visitors, volunteers, patients, and customers.


The prohibition applies to all nicotine, tobacco-derived or -containing products, and plant-based products including cigarettes (e.g., clove, bidis, kreteks), electronic cigarettes/vaping, cigars and cigarillos, hookah-smoked products, and oral tobacco (spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff).


The prohibition applies at all facilities, property, and grounds of Ohio University used to carry out the mission of the university, on the Athens campus. Regional campuses will also be smoke and tobacco-free. The specifics of the policy will be determined and communicated by each regional campus.

It applies in such places, whether they are owned, rented, or leased by Ohio university. It applies at locations owned by the university that are rented or leased to others for unrelated uses only if University employees work at that location.

The prohibition also extends to sidewalks adjacent to university buildings and grounds, in keeping with the Athens city policy of property owners' responsibility for sidewalks.

The prohibition applies in university-owed or -rented vehicles, wherever they are, and in personal vehicles while on Ohio university property.


  1. FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy will be allowed (e.g., patches, gum, inhalers, and lozenges).
  2. Tobacco use may be permitted for controlled research, educational, clinical, or religious ceremonial purposes with prior approval of the dean or director responsible for the facility.

Designated Smoking and Tobacco Use Areas

After much consideration from reviewing input from tobacco users, survey results, and benchmarked tobacco-free institutions, there will be NO designated smoking/tobacco use areas.


Electronic cigarettes will NOT be allowed for the following reasons:

  1. There is a lack of conclusive scientific research on e-cigarettes. Therefore, there is no way of knowing whether e-cigarettes are safe and the potential for harm these consumer products may cause. Given this lack of research, a majority of universities nationwide include e-cigarettes in the definition of tobacco products.
  2. Permitting e-cigarettes will inevitably lead to confusion and difficulty in enforcement of a ban on cigarettes given the similarity in appearance between traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
  3. E-cigarettes are being used to smoke illegal drugs such as marijuana.

*The use of e-cigarettes will be revisited should they receive FDA approval.


Community-Wide Accountability

Each member of the university community will be responsible for respectfully informing or reminding others of the smoke and tobacco-free policy if coming upon someone smoking or using tobacco. Effective approaches for talking with individuals who smoke or use tobacco are provided on the tools and downloads page.


It is the responsibility of employees to comply with this policy. Supervisors are encouraged to emphasize the wellness aspects of the policy and ask if the employee is interested in any assistance adapting to the policy or interested in cessation resources. A guide for supervisors [PDF] has been provided.


It is the responsibility of Ohio University students to comply with this policy. When talking with students, one is encouraged to emphasize the wellness aspects of the policy and ask if the student is interested in any assistance adapting to the policy or interested in cessation resources.

Visitors, Volunteers, Patients, and Customers

Visitors, volunteers, patients, and customers should be made aware and reminded that OHIO is a smoke and tobacco-free campus. An effort should be made to educate these groups prior to their arrival on campus by the sponsoring office via websites, mailings, advertisements, and electronic information. During an event on the OHIO campus, the sponsoring office shall make efforts to ensure compliance with this policy.

Whistle Blowing

No person shall discharge, refuse to hire, or in any manner retaliate against an individual for exercising any right, including reporting a violation, or performing any obligation under this policy; see also, policy 03.006.

Cessation Resources and Support for Tobacco Users

Understanding the realities of nicotine/tobacco addiction and the concern about personal rights, there is strong empathy for university community members who smoke or use tobacco products. It is also important to note this initiative does not require any individual stop using tobacco products; such a decision is an individual’s choice. OHIO is committed to assisting smokers and tobacco users on their journey if they choose to quit or cease use while on campus. Research indicates it can take multiple attempts to quit and therefore, the university must support these attempts, including cessation programs, support groups, and nicotine replacement therapy. Find more information on the website's cessation resources page.


For more information, email