We love that so many colleges and universities have policies in place for smoke or tobacco-free campuses! There are now at least 1,913 100% smokefree campus sites across the US, of which 1,611 are entirely tobacco-free.
Sadly, sometimes campuses that say they are smokefree are not, because they allow for certain exemptions. On occasion, we have to remove a listing after re-analyzing the policy or finding supplemental documents that contradict one another and specify smoking areas. For instance, we recently discovered that we will have to remove University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), when we publish our updated list.
While analyzing the “tobacco policy FAQ” document on UNR’s tobacco-free website, we found a summary of the policy, but we also found that no policy document was linked. The UNR FAQs are somewhat detailed and the underlying policy seems strong (it even states that smoking in personal vehicles is prohibited!), but in searching further for a written policy we discovered the school’s administrative procedure manual which states that while indoor smoking is prohibited, the university is a “voluntary tobacco-free campus” and that all will be “encouraged” to comply.
The FAQ says nothing about the policy being voluntary, or that campus dwellers are encouraged, but not required to comply. We also found that the athletic department decided to keep the stadium’s designated smoking area after the policy took effect. Unfortunately, these exemptions mean that UNR is not completely smoke or tobacco-free. View our criteria here.
We applaud universities and college campuses for embracing the idea of a healthy lifestyle and encouraging tobacco-free behavior, but a voluntary policy is problematic.