As of January 1, 2014, the University of California Santa Cruz is a Smoke and Tobacco Free Environment

Smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and unregulated nicotine products are strictly prohibited. The change has been made to ensure the health and well-being of everyone on campus.   

How will compliance with this policy be achieved?

Compliance with this policy is grounded in informing and educating members of the university community and visitors about the policy and encouraging those who use tobacco products to seek treatment for tobacco dependence. In order to maintain a smoke and tobacco free environment, notifying others about the policy will be an ongoing effort to enhance awareness of and foster compliance with this Policy. Violations of this policy may be subject to corrective action under the Student Code of Conduct, Human Resources and Academic Personnel Policies and Procedures, other applicable university regulations or policies, vendor contracts and citations and fines per  California Government Code 7597.1

Are smokers/tobacco users being singled out?

No. The rules on smoking and tobacco use are for the health and well being of everyone across the University of California, particularly non-smokers who do not wish to be subjected to the health hazard presented by tobacco use.

What if I don't want to quit smoking/using tobacco?

These rules do not prevent you from smoking in general, they only apply to smoking and tobacco use by individuals while on University of California property.

Isn't this about personal choice? Is the university infringing on my rights?

There is no moral judgement here. The university is not asking you to stop smoking/using tobacco in total, only that you abide by these policies while on university property and not subject others to the potentially harmful substances found in tobacco products, including second-hand smoke.

Isn't this the same as banning alcohol, fattening foods or sugary drinks? They are bad for you as well.

There are many things in life that are unhealthy, but second-hand tobacco smoke has been shown to cause harm to individuals who are not users.

Whom does the policy affect?

This policy affects students, faculty, staff and visitors at all university controlled properties.

What is considered a tobacco product and is therefore prohibited by the policy?

Cigarettes, E-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew, and any other non-combustible tobacco product.

Why are e-cigarettes included in this policy?

The FDA does not consider e-cigarettes to be a safe nicotine delivery system or smoking cessation strategy and their use is prohibited on university property for purposes of this policy. However, other forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches are allowed. 

Why is smokeless tobacco included in this policy?

  • Smokeless tobacco spit is considered a biohazard and contains at least 24 carcinogenic chemicals.
  • Spit tobacco often creates unwanted hazardous waste and byproducts, which campus maintenance staff members then have to dispose of. 
  • A dip of smokeless tobacco typically contains 3-5 times more nicotine than a cigarette. Research shows that smokers have difficulty switching from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco. Instead, many become dual users of both cigarettes and smokeless products –increasing the addiction.
  • Smokeless tobacco use is a precursor to cigarette use. Specifically, adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Environmental concerns. Smokeless tobacco still uses the same tobacco manufacturing methods that cause deforestation, soil erosion, and poverty. 

Is there anywhere I can smoke or use tobacco?

Neither smoking nor the use of tobacco products are permitted within the boundaries of university controlled properties. Once outside the boundaries of university controlled properties, smoking and use of tobacco products is subject to local jurisdiction.

Can I smoke or use tobacco in my personal vehicle?

Smoking/use of tobacco is not permitted in your personal vehicle, whether parked or in motion, if the vehicle is located on university property.

Are there designated smoking areas on campus?

Effective January 1, 2014, UCSC is a smoke and tobacco-free campus. Smoking areas or smoking shelters will not be designated on university property. 

What should I do if I see someone smoking on university grounds?

Faculty, staff, and students who see individuals smoking on university properties may respectfully inform these individuals of the university policy prohibiting smoking and tobacco use anywhere on university properties. 

Do I have to quit using tobacco?

No. The policy does not require individuals to quit; however, the policy prohibits smoking and using tobacco products on all university controlled properties. In addition, the sale and advertising of tobacco and tobacco-related products are prohibited at all university controlled properties.

What resources are available to help me stop using tobacco products?

The new policy is an important campus health and safety initiative. The university will offer support to those affected in order to make the transition as easy as possible for our campus community. UCSC is committed to supporting the campus community to stop using tobacco products. Assistance to students, faculty, and staff to overcome addiction to tobacco products is available. Integrating comprehensive and effective cessation programs and smoke and tobacco-free policies with other worksite programs such as health promotion/wellness programs is key to facilitating and supporting successful behavior change and maximizing the health of the entire campus community.

If I choose to continue to smoke or use tobacco and do not have enough time to step off campus to smoke what am I supposed to do?

The university is aware that nicotine is a highly addictive drug and simply waiting till lunch-time or after work will be difficult for some. We encourage the use of nicotine replacement products such as gum or lozenges for times when it is inconvenient to smoke. Please work with your health care provider to determine the appropriate product.

What about the university neighbors?

UCSC asks that our students, faculty, and staff help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors that border the campus. We encourage you to respect other’s property by not littering and not congregating in areas to smoke. 

A smoke and tobacco-free policy will force students, faculty, and staff to leave campus to smoke. What about the personal safety of these individuals, especially in the early morning or evening when it is dark?

UCSC encourages all individuals to be mindful of their personal safety while on or off campus. Medications such as the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray or inhaler are options that can be considered o meet nicotine needs without leaving campus.

Don’t I have a right to smoke or use tobacco products on campus? 

Using tobacco is a personal choice, not a constitutional right. There is no constitutional right to smoke. In addition, prohibiting smoking and the use of tobacco products on campus preserves everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air while allowing adults who smoke and use tobacco products to continue to do so off-campus. This decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Do smoke and tobacco-free policies really help?

Yes! According to the CDC, smoking bans and restrictions lead to a reduction in the amount of daily smoking among students and employees and an increase in the number of individuals who stop smoking. Smoke/tobacco-free campuses and workplaces reduce the risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer due to secondhand smoke exposure. 

Will this policy negatively affect enrollment or employment?

In surveys of other colleges and universities who have established a smoke-free policy, there has not been a decline in student enrollment or applicants seeking employment. Surveys consistently show that most students would prefer to attend a tobacco-free college. One early leader, Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, has seen enrollment increase every quarter since going tobacco-free in 2003. In addition, a tobacco-free environment will make our campus a more attractive venue for events attended by the public. As the public’s expectation for environments free of secondhand smoke continues to grow, community event organizers will favor tobacco-free campuses when choosing event locations.

Are there any other educational institutions that have gone smoke and tobacco-free?

Yes. There are at least 1159 campuses in the US that are 100% smoke-free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions about the policy?

For comments or questions regarding this policy, members of the campus community and the community at large are encouraged to contact

For Questions

Contact Cindy Delgado at or 831-459-1787.