Common Questions With Answers

Why did PLU decide to go tobacco-free?

College campuses across the country are becoming tobacco-free. This decision has been prompted both by ongoing concerns for the health and wellness of the community and by recent calls from students, faculty and staff that the university act now to become a tobacco-free and smoke-free campus. Certainly the ill effects of tobacco are well documented:

  • The Surgeon General states that tobacco use in any form, active and/or passive, is a significant health hazard (Office of the Surgeon General).
  • Environmental tobacco smoke has been classified as a Class-A carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (US Environmental Protection Agency).
  • Smoking is responsible for more deaths each year than drugs, alcohol abuse, car crashes, AIDS, murder, and suicide combined (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Is being tobacco-free related to the university's mission?

Yes. Becoming a tobacco-free campus is in keeping with PLU’s commitment to promote and support a healthy and safe campus environment for all – it is a core value and a central part of our mission. As of July, over 500 colleges and universities are smoke/tobacco-free. The American College Health Association (ACHA) has adopted a “no tobacco use” policy and encourages colleges and universities to achieve a 100 percent indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.

If I can't smoke anywhere on the PLU campus, where should I go to smoke?

PLU will not provide designated smoking areas. If you must use tobacco, please keep in mind it must be used on your own time and somewhere other than on the PLU campus property.

Is there a plan for dealing with employees, students, or visitors who choose to use tobacco across the street or on neighboring properties?

Common courtesy should prevail. We should all strive to be good neighbors. Neighboring property owners will likely not wish to have tobacco-users on their property.

Does this policy mean that I have to quit using tobacco?

No. PLU is not requiring anyone to quit using tobacco, but you cannot use any tobacco products while on the campus. The policy represents supporting each other to choose healthy lifestyle choices and making sure everyone’s health is protected.

It's my right to use tobacco. How can you take away my right to smoke?

We are all responsible for providing a safe environment for the campus students, staff, and visitors. The Tobacco-free campus policy gives everyone on campus the right to breathe fresh air and not endure risks to their health. Because PLU owns the campus property, it has the ability to regulate how the property is treated.

How will the policy be enforced and will there be consequences if someone is caught?

Everyone is expected to be respectful and comply with campus policy.

Is the university trying to dictate people's lifestyle choices?

We believe that tobacco use is harmful to people’s health. We also realize the use of tobacco is a personal choice. We are asking people to refrain from tobacco use – i.e., adapt their behaviors – while they are working on or visiting our campuses and properties.

Did health insurance costs, for students and employees, play a role in the decision to go tobacco-free?

No.  Long term the decision to go tobacco-free may result in a positive impact on health insurance cost, but it was not a factor in the decision making process.

Can people smoke in personal vehicles or PLU vehicles while on campus?

No. Use of tobacco products is prohibited everywhere on campus. This includes vehicles parked anywhere on PLU campus properties including parking lots.

Who will enforce these new guidelines?

PLU faculty, staff and students are all responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy environment on campus. All will be asked to support the new guidelines and remind violators that we have a tobacco-free environment on campus.

Who can I contact if I have questions or comments about the policy?

Please direct any questions or comments about the tobacco-free PLU policy to