header image

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will the smoke-free policy be enforced?

A: The smoke-free policy for OSU is an Oregon law enforceable by the Department of Public Safety. The policy is in effect year-round, including all game days. Education and remediation will be the primary focus for those found in violation; however, in egregious cases, students will be held accountable under the student conduct code and employees under OSU employment policies. Contractors, vendors, event attendees, those who rent or lease university property and other visitors to OSU will be subject to exclusion from campus.

Please call the non-emergency line at 541-737-3010 if you would like to make a report. If a person chooses to inform someone who is smoking on campus of the policy, please be respectful and take an educational approach.

Some optional phrases to consider:

  • "Excuse me, you may not be aware of this, but OSU is a nonsmoking campus. Would you please extinguish your cigarette?"
  • "You’re welcome to smoke outside of the campus boundaries. For a map or other resources, you can visit oregonstate.edu/smokefree."

If the person receiving the message reacts negatively, you can choose to walk away and/or contact the Department of Public Safety (541-737-3010) if you feel unsafe.

Q: Can I smoke in my personal vehicle on campus?

A: No. The policy prohibits smoking within personal vehicles anywhere within the campus boundaries.

Q: What tobacco products are covered under the smoke-free campus policy?

A: According to the policy (OAR Chapter 576, Division 040), “Smoking” means inhaling or exhaling smoke from, or burning or carrying, any lighted Smoking Instrument, or using an electronic cigarette or device intended to simulate smoking.

“Smoking Instrument” means a cigar, cigarette, pipe, electronic cigarette or other device intended to simulate smoking.

Q: How can I handle my nicotine cravings, if I cannot leave campus to smoke?

A: OSU students, faculty and staff may purchase nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) products (patches, gum and lozenges) at the OSU Pharmacy, Room 109, Plageman Student Health Center. OSU I.D. is required. The pharmacy will accept cash or check, or students may charge to their account. Visitors should come prepared with their own supply of NRT. Learn more about how you can cope with your cravings while on campus.

Q: Are tobacco cessation resources available to help smokers quit?

A: Yes. OSU students are able to access free tobacco cessation counseling, nicotine gum and patches. For faculty and staff covered by OSU’s PEBB benefits, the State of Oregon requires insurance companies to cover at least up to $500 in tobacco cessation.

Anyone can use the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line for free help to quit tobacco. Make your own plan online or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).


Other Questions That Are Sometimes Asked


Q: If so few people smoke on campus, why should we put energy into making campus smoke free?

A: Data collected from campus surveys and research suggests there is a negative impact from people smoking on campus. For those with health problems such as heart disease, asthma or respiratory infection, undergoing chemotherapy or in remission from cancer, any amount of smoke exposure can be a significant problem.

Back to top

Q: What is the percentage of faculty and staff who smoke on campus?

A: We don’t have that information, although county health data places the number of adult smokers in Benton County at around 10 percent.

Back to top

Q: Is exposure to second-hand smoke outside really that big of a deal?

A: Yes. When people choose to smoke outdoors or inside, they are negatively impacting the health of all people around them.

  • The Surgeon General's report specifies that tobacco use in any form, active or passive represents a significant health hazard to both smokers and non-smoker bystanders.
  • Outdoor levels of secondhand smoke are equally as harmful as indoor levels.
  • Even brief exposure to smoke as you're walking into a building can cause or exacerbate heart disease, asthma, allergies, and bronchitis.
  • There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke - secondhand smoke causes increased morbidity and mortality for those in contact with it.
  • Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and at least 69 chemicals known to cause cancer.
  • Secondhand smoke contains at least 172 toxic substances, including three regulated outdoor air pollutants.
  • Even occasional exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the incidence of coronary heart disease.

Back to top

Q: Where is smoking prohibited?

A: Smoking is not allowed within the boundary of OSU’s Corvallis campus, as well as on any other University-owned property within Benton County that is marked with signage indicating a nonsmoking environment.

Back to top

Q: Is a smoke-free policy a violation of civil and Constitutional rights?

A: No, there is no Constitutional "right" to smoke or use tobacco. Tobacco users are not a category protected under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, nor is tobacco use a protected liberty right under the Due Process clause of the Constitution.

Back to top

Q: Will accommodations be made for people with physical disabilities?

A: Since smoking is not a protected right, a job duty of employees, nor an educational requirement, it is unlikely there is a need to accommodate a person with a disability to smoke.

However, if a person receives a prescription for tobacco smoking to alleviate a disability, that request should be directed to Disability Access Services for OSU students and the Office of Equity and Inclusion for OSU faculty and staff. All requests would be governed by federal and state law on disability accommodation.

Back to top

Q: Are people who are prescribed medical marijuana allowed to use it on campus?

A: Medical marijuana is not permitted on University property due to federal regulations that trump state laws in this context.

Back to top

Q: What has been done to address cultural issues for groups such as Native Americans, students with language problems, cultural issues, etc.?

A: Requests for a reasonable religious accommodation for tobacco/herb burning for Native American ceremonies can be made with the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and governed by federal and state law.

To address potential language barriers, the international “no smoking” symbol is being used on campus signage, and included on marketing and educational materials where appropriate.

For our international community, education and communication about the policy is being done in collaboration with INTO-OSU, International Students of Oregon State University, and International Student Advising and Services to ensure the policy is understood and well-communicated prior to students arriving at OSU.

Back to top

Q: Do applicants know that OSU is a nonsmoking campus?

A: Yes, the Office of Human Resources has posted a notice on http://oregonstate.edu./jobs for future OSU employees.

For students, Admissions includes information about the policy in their materials, and information about the policy is conveyed by INTO-OSU agents and regional offices abroad, in addition to on-campus tabling for residents at the ILLC. Additionally, INTO-OSU reminds incoming students about the policy in their pre-departure guides and has translated flyers about the policy and distributes them where appropriate.

Back to top

Q: How will this impact students, faculty and staff choosing to come to Oregon State?

A: Being a nonsmoking campus is in line with the Oregon State Strategic Plan and is a demonstration of a commitment to creating a healthy environment for learning. 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.

Back to top

Q: Is this policy in effect for Hatfield Marine Science Center or OSU’s Cascades Campus?

A: At this time the policy only applies to OSU’s Corvallis campus. However, interest for a similar policy has been expressed by the Hatfield Marine Science Center and a handful of OSU Extension offices.

Back to top

Q: What are we doing to address trash in campus neighborhoods?

A: Smoking receptacles will be placed around the perimeter of campus for people to discard of their smoking-related trash. Failure to discard cigarette butts into a proper receptacle is considered littering.

Additionally, handouts have been provided to local businesses to help inform their customers about the upcoming policy. Community forums were held in August 2012 to inform the community about the policy and address concerns or questions.

Back to top