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Tobacco Free Policy

Purchase’s Tobacco Free Policy

In recognition of the overwhelming scientific evidence that tobacco use causes serious diseases and is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, Purchase College is instituting a Tobacco Free policy to change the culture of tobacco use on campus. This policy expands on the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the New York statewide smoking ban that took effect on July 24, 2003, which bans smoking in all enclosed workplaces in New York, including bars, restaurants and construction sites.  The policy will apply to any property owned, leased, or operated by the college. In line with the tobacco-free vision of New York held by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Governor Andrew Cuomo, Purchase’s goal is to be completely tobacco-free by the end of the 2017–18 academic year.

Purchase College places a priority on the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff and those who visit the Purchase campus. The Tobacco Free policy will complement the college’s environmental sustainability efforts, help create and preserve equitable and respectful work, study, and living environments, and bring Purchase’s institutional investments in line with the college’s principles on social and environmental responsibility. It will also eliminate harmful exposure to secondhand smoke and prevent litter and chemical leaching from tobacco waste.


What Counts as “Tobacco”?

Under the policy, “tobacco” is defined as all tobacco and tobacco-derived products intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookah-smoked products, clove cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, and smokeless tobacco (for example, dip, chew, snus, and snuff). It does not include any product that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale as a tobacco use-cessation product.

Because the liquid-nicotine mixture in e-cigarettes is derived from tobacco, it is defined by this policy as a tobacco product rather than as a tobacco-cessation product. While the secondhand effect of the vapor from e-cigarettes may be less harmful than that of tobacco smoke, Purchase is unwilling to expose students to possible harm from an unregulated and untested product. When the FDA makes a ruling on e-cigarettes, this policy will be reconsidered.

The Tobacco Free Committee

Purchase will maintain an ad hoc Tobacco Free Committee to help the campus make the transition from a culture of casual public tobacco use to one that promotes clean air and consideration for the health of others. This committee will oversee the creation of designated smoking areas to be used while the college is making the transition to becoming entirely tobacco free. It will also develop an outreach campaign for members of the community with nicotine dependency, offering help through flyers, posters, emails, information sessions, and support groups. The committee will educate the community about free cessation options, institutional resources, and potential student code of conduct violations so that the policy is clear.  It will coordinate an effort to engage the campus in an on-going dialog with the campus about tobacco. The Tobacco Free policy will be reviewed at least annually and will be revised as needed to ensure that its objectives are attained and that Purchase is in compliance with federal and state law. The committee will contain representatives from the faculty, staff, and student body.

How Will Tobacco Free Work on Campus?

The Tobacco Free policy will have two phases. During the initial phase (from present to June 2018), tobacco use will be strictly limited to designated smoking areas, which will be created around campus by the  the start of the fall semester of 2015. ( Note: Please see the attached smoking zone map) Smokers will be required to use specific receptacles for their litter. Information about Tobacco Free and cessation options will be clearly posted and disseminated around the campus. Smoking elsewhere on campus during this period will be a violation of campus policy. This rule will also apply when students attend college-sponsored off-campus events. By June 2018, tobacco use will not be permitted anywhere on college owned, leased or operated property.


This policy is driven by respect for others and the environment and relies on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of tobacco users and non-users for its success. The success of this policy will depend on the cooperation of all members of the Purchase College community, both to comply and encourage others to do so.  It is the responsibility of all members of the college community to abide by this tobacco policy. 

An initial violation of the policy will result in only a verbal warning. This warning will include information about the policy, the rationale behind it, and the availability of tobacco-cessation and harm-reduction support services on and off campus. Subsequent noncompliance by students will result in formal discipline under section E12 of the Community Standards of Conduct.

Helping our Community to Stop Using Tobacco

Purchase will make every reasonable effort to assist students, faculty and staff who wish to stop or reduce their use of tobacco products. It will promote awareness of evidence-based tobacco-cessation resources through a multifaceted outreach campaign. Students can find cessation and reduction tools and treatment, including counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy, at Student Health Services and the Wellness Center. Faculty and staff  can get help through the Employee Assistance Program and from their healthcare providers. The Tobacco Free Committee will regularly solicit feedback from the campus community to ensure that the needs of those interested in tobacco cessation are being met.

Advertising, Promotion, and Sales

Tobacco sales are prohibited on the campus. The college will not accept advertising, marketing, distribution, or promotion of tobacco products.

Sponsorships, Gifts, Funding, and Investments

All grants and gifts to Purchase and all solicitations and proposals for such funds must have the approval of the college and must conform to its mission statement and culture of wellness, SUNY policies, and all applicable laws and regulations. With that in mind, Purchase will no longer invest in any direct tobacco company holdings and will divest itself of any remaining investments in the tobacco industry as soon as it is reasonably able to do so. Investment packages that include tobacco-related holdings must be reported to the Tobacco Free Committee annually as long as such holdings remain in those packages.

Changing the Culture

Purchase will actively educate the campus community about the dangers of tobacco use. The Tobacco Free policy will be clearly posted in student handbooks, on the campus website, and in other publications. Freshman seminars will review it, and it will be shared with parents, alumni, and visitors through admissions publications, media, campus announcements, the college website, and other resources. Key components of the policy will be posted on signs around campus (e.g., “Purchase is moving toward being tobacco free”; “Limit tobacco use to designated areas only”). Public announcements will address the policy and its implementation at events on campus.

The Tobacco Free Committee will undertake education and outreach efforts intended to change the culture of the campus community to one that values clean air, mutual respect, and holistic well-being.