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Smoke and Tobacco Free FAQ's

As of April 2017, there are more than 1,500 smoke and tobacco free college campuses in the United States.

Nebraska Institutions that are currently smoke or tobacco free:

  • Bellevue University
  • Central Community College
  • Clarkson College
  • College of Saint Mary
  • Creighton University
  • Grace University
  • Mid-Plains Community College
  • Nebraska Methodist College
  • Union College
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • University of Nebraska Omaha
  • York College
Why Is MCC Becoming Smoke And Tobacco Free?

Why is MCC becoming Smoke and Tobacco Free?

This initiative promotes the well-being of all MCC community members and the maintenance of a sustainable and healthy campus environment. MCC will soon join the growing list of colleges and universities across the U.S. who have adopted a smoke and tobacco free campus policy. Research findings show that use of tobacco products constitutes a significant health hazard; tobacco smoke is a proven health and safety hazard both to smokers and to non-smokers who are involuntarily exposed to second hand smoke. Smoke and Tobacco free policies can have a positive impact in reducing adverse impacts from tobacco use. According to recent research, the following benefits have been attributed to the implementation of smoke and tobacco free policies:

  • Decrease smoking initiation among young adults
  • Decrease progression to established smoking
  • Increase the probability of young adult smoking cessation
  • Promote a tobacco-free norm which can influence adult smoking behavior
  • Lead to less smoking among adults in the workplace
  • Employees in workplaces with smoke and tobacco free policies are almost twice as likely to stop using tobacco as those who work where tobacco use is allowed

Other benefits of a smoke and tobacco free policy include cleaner grounds, cost savings in grounds maintenance and clean air, all of which support MCC's sustainability efforts.

When does the policy take effect?

September 17, 2017

What Is And Is Not Permitted

What does having a 100% smoke and tobacco-free policy at Metropolitan Community College mean?

The policy means that no smoking or tobacco use will be allowed on any property or facility owned or leased by or in the possession of the College, or otherwise under the exclusive control of the College, and in all vehicles owned or leased by the College.

What products are included in the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy?

Tobacco is defined as all tobacco-derived or containing products, including but not limited to: cigarettes (clove, bidis, kreteks, etc.); electronic cigarettes; vapes; cigars and cigarillos; hookah smoked products; pipes; oral tobacco (spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff); and nasal tobacco (snus). It also includes any product intended to mimic tobacco products, contain tobacco flavoring or deliver nicotine other than for the purpose of cessation.

Will it be okay to use smokeless tobacco such as chew?

All forms of tobacco are prohibited. The health risks associated with "chew" as well as other smokeless tobacco products are well documented.

Will the use of hookahs and other devices for smoking tobacco be permitted?

Using hookahs or any other device to smoke tobacco is prohibited. Additionally, using hookahs to smoke non-tobacco products also is prohibited. Using hookahs and other devices promotes tobacco use as an acceptable behavior, which is not acceptable at MCC.

Are electronic cigarettes (e-cigs/vapes) permitted?

E-cigs/vapes are not permitted. There is insufficient evidence that these devices positively affect smoking and they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as smoking cessation devices, therefore cannot be used on MCC property. They contain tobacco flavoring and so are prohibited under our policy. Using e-cigs promotes tobacco use as an acceptable behavior, which is not acceptable at MCC.

What does College-owned and operated property include?

This means all College property operated as part of the College’s campuses, including: campus buildings, structures and facilities; parking lots (including personal/private vehicles in College parking lots); College vehicles; and ground areas.

Can I use tobacco in my personal vehicle while on College property?

No. Use of tobacco in your personal vehicle is not permitted while on College property.

To whom does the smoke and tobacco free policy apply?

The smoke and tobacco free policy applies to all College employees, students, visitors and vendors and is driven by respect for others and for the environment.

Does the tobacco-free policy apply at College-sanctioned events occurring off College property?

The policy applies only to College-owned, operated and leased property. Events or activities scheduled elsewhere are bound by the policies or rules of the event coordinator or property manager.

Will the smoke and tobacco free policy mean that smokers and tobacco users can no longer attend or work at MCC?

No. While the policy will dictate that smoking and tobacco use is prohibited on MCC campuses, it will not mean that MCC is asking or expecting anyone to end their involvement with campus. The policy is being implemented out of respect for others and the environment. MCC supports the right of those that live, work, learn and visit MCC to be able to conduct their academic or work endeavors in a smoke and tobacco free environment.

What are the rights of smoke or tobacco users?

There is no legal right to smoke or use tobacco under either state or federal law.

The College can establish policies that positively affect the health and well-being of all students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors. A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use, it merely establishes where use can and cannot occur. Tobacco is legal for adults to purchase and consume; tobacco products are just not permissible to use while on College property.

Why not allow people to smoke outdoors? Is there really a health risk?

Yes, there really is a health risk. The Surgeon General has found there is no safe level of second-hand smoke. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans and animals. At MCC, it is imperative that we consider the impact of tobacco on the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, prospective students, parents, vendors and visitors.

How does adopting a 100% smoke and tobacco-free policy clean up the environment?

Environmental tobacco exposes bystanders to numerous harmful chemicals. Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. About 1.7 billion pounds of cigarette butts are littered worldwide every day. Cigarette butts are a fire hazard, increase college maintenance expenses and can be eaten by dogs, birds and other animals. Filters are non-biodegradable and can take five to ten years to decompose. Chemicals (hydrogen, cyanide, arsenic, etc.) in cigarette butts leak into the soil and water.

Options For Tobacco Users

Are there resources to help employees and students quit using tobacco?

Yes. A comprehensive list of resources can be found on this website.

How will employees manage a tobacco addiction under the new policy?

Employees may use their allotted meal periods to travel off College property to use tobacco products. Employees will not be given additional time for use of tobacco products.

Can I extend my break or change the time of my break so I have time to walk off campus to smoke?

Hourly staff should be mindful of the length of their breaks in accordance with their department’s attendance policy. Employees should not trespass, loiter or litter on public or private property to smoke during breaks. Please respect the College’s neighbors. If you do not have time to walk off campus during your break, check out the cessation resources available to faculty, staff and students.

Breaks are usually timed to ensure business needs are met. The length and time of breaks cannot be changed to accommodate tobacco use. Refer to departmental policies and/or supervisors regarding options, if applicable. It is important to consistently and fairly apply policies and business practices.

Am I able to attend tobacco cessation sessions during paid work time?

MCC is supportive of tobacco users who desire to quit using tobacco products. Options for attending tobacco cessation sessions are based on the department’s business needs and may include flexible scheduling in accordance with the College’s paid leave and unpaid leave policies. Submit these requests for leave in a timely manner and schedule the time in a manner that is least disruptive to the administrative unit. Keep in mind there are various types of cessation resources. Approval for time away from work to participate in a cessation program is subject to approval by your supervisor.

What will the College do about people leaving the campus or going across the street into neighboring properties to smoke?

While the policy only applies to College-owned properties, we ask that students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors and respect neighboring properties outside our campuses. Leaving campus to use tobacco or smoke does not give anyone permission to litter, loiter or trespass on private or public property. Property owners have the right to enforce their boundaries.

Handling Concerns With Individuals Who Use Tobacco On Campus

How will Metropolitan Community College enforce the smoke and tobacco-free policy?

The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers. Students, faculty and staff have a collective responsibility to promote the safety and health of the campus community and therefore share in the responsibility of enforcement.

MCC expects respect, courtesy, and cooperation from all members of the MCC community. It is expected that individuals will voluntarily choose to follow this policy out of respect for others and the environment.

Individuals observed smoking are to be reminded in a professional and courteous manner of the tobacco-free policy. Initially, there will be an emphasis on education as the College and community adapt to the policy.

The enforcement continuum will progress from education to warnings to applicable sanctions.

  • Faculty and Staff: Addressed in the same manner as any other violation of college policy through progressive discipline.
  • Students: Addressed in the same manner as any other Student Code of Conduct Violation.
  • Visitors: Addressed by College Police.

How should I approach someone who is using tobacco on campus?

Our individual responsibility is to educate people about the initiative. Not everyone will feel comfortable approaching someone who is using tobacco. If you choose to approach someone and are met with resistance, you need not press the issue.

Approach the individual with respect and assume the individual is not aware that MCC is a smoke and tobacco-free college.

For example, in a friendly tone and with a smile you could say, “Hi. You may not be aware, but Metropolitan Community College is a smoke and tobacco-free college. We would appreciate it if you would not use tobacco products while on College property. Thank you for respecting our community.”

How should I respond if someone becomes angry or aggressive?

In the event that an individual who is requested to comply with the policy becomes angry or belligerent, College Police may be notified to offer assistance.

How will the College handle employees who do not want to stop the use of tobacco products?

Faculty, staff and students are not required to stop using tobacco products. However, they will not be permitted to use tobacco products on any College property. Similar to regulations which prohibit smoking indoors, individuals must find ways to manage their need for nicotine in ways that do not involve using tobacco on College property.

As a supervisor, what is my responsibility if I receive reports or observe an employee violating the policy?

You hold employees accountable to College policy expectations. First, explain the expectations outlined in the policy and provide appropriate resources. If there are continued violations, identify the impact of the employee’s actions and manage it appropriately. You are encouraged to contact the College’s Associate VP of Human Resources for help with how to address matters of non-compliance.

Respecting Our Neighbors/Boundaries

Will staff/students/visitors be able to smoke on public property adjoining college property?

MCC controls all sidewalks on campus, whether next to the road or not; therefore, the tobacco-free policy applies to sidewalks on or around the perimeter of campuses.

For those sidewalks not controlled by the college, we ask that you respect pedestrians and our efforts to provide a healthier environment by refraining from tobacco use on those sidewalks.

The MCC community asks our students and employees to help maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors, and to respect neighboring properties outside the campus. Tobacco use and smoking off campus does not give anyone permission to litter, loiter, or trespass on private or public property. Property owners have the right to enforce their boundaries, including trespass warnings and requesting police action. Please be a good neighbor.

Where can I find additional information?

Additional information may be found on this website as it becomes available.

Can you provide data on how many students started smoking as a result of our smoking areas?

College is a critical time in young adult development during which many lifestyle habits are formed. We have an unprecedented opportunity to promote sustained healthy behaviors among students. In 2012, the Surgeon General reported that each day in the U.S., 3,800 young people under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette and more than 1,000 youth under age 18 become daily cigarette smokers. Nearly 100% of adults who smoke daily started smoking when they were 26 or younger.