University To Become Tobacco and Vape Free Effective January 1, 2020

Where can I view the Smoke, Vapor and Tobacco-Free Environment policy?

The Smoke, Vapor and Tobacco-Free Environment policy is posted here.

Why is A&M-Commerce tobacco and vaping free?

In a directive from John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System dated October 1, 2019, the use of electronic cigarettes has been banned on all Texas A&M University System campuses, including Texas A&M University-Commerce. 

In addition, the university’s No Smoking in Restrictive Areas policy was replaced with the Smoke, Vapor and Tobacco-Free Environment policy on January 1, 2020, in order to provide a clean, healthy environment for the entire community. A tobacco and vaping free campus will:

  • Protect people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to tobacco, passive smoke and vaping fumes.
  • Establish a supportive atmosphere for those trying to quit using nicotine, and create a culture of wellness for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
  • Create a healthier living, learning and working environment. 

How will the policy be enforced?

The expectation is that persons will voluntarily comply with the policy. It is the responsibility of everyone on campus to politely inform others of the policy and ask that they refrain from using tobacco or vaping products while on A&M-Commerce property.

For visitors, reminders about the tobacco and vaping free campus may be necessary, and the university will provide messaging on university-affiliated materials, websites, vendor contracts, and for special events.

The university expects cooperation from students and employees as this policy provides a clean, healthy environment for the entire community. The university will evaluate reports of repeated concerns and implement actions for resolution using existing methods of enforcement for university rule violations. As a reminder, Texas Health and Safety Code, § 161.252 states that possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or tobacco products by minors is prohibited.

How is the new policy being communicated?

We make people aware of the tobacco and vaping free environment through electronic messaging, signage, notices in event programs and marketing.

An explanation of the tobacco and vaping free campus policy is also communicated to prospective and enrolling students and new employees. Additionally, we ask event planners to include the policy in materials distributed to all outside groups that use university facilities.

What are the prohibited items and activities under the tobacco-free campus?

The university’s Smoke, Vapor and Tobacco-Free Environment policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and any nicotine delivery device that has not been approved by the FDA for cessation. The FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as "tobacco products" under the Tobacco Control Act.

Prohibited items include all forms of smoking, tobacco use and unregulated nicotine products, including but not limited to:

  • cigarettes, cigars (commercially or self-rolled)
  • pipes, hookahs, water pipes
  • electronic cigarettes
  • vape pens
  • bidis (beedis), kreteks
  • smokeless tobacco (e.g., snuff, chew)

Where does the policy apply?

The policy includes property located in the state of Texas that is owned, operated, leased, occupied or under the administrative control of the president of Texas A&M University-Commerce. For the purposes of this policy, this includes but is not limited to all grounds, buildings and structures (including athletic and farm facilities/fields), sidewalks, parking lots, walkways and all vehicles owned, leased or rented by A&M-Commerce.

Are there exceptions to the policy?

Narrowly defined exceptions allow for tobacco or vaping use as part of sponsored research projects, in educational or clinical instruction and for artistic performances in university-sponsored events.

Does the Smoke, Vapor and Tobacco-Free Environment policy apply at university-sanctioned events or sporting activities occurring on off-campus property?

The tobacco and vaping free campus policy applies only to university-owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled property. Events or activities scheduled elsewhere are bound by the policies or rules of the event coordinator or property manager.

Does the policy apply to campus visitors?

Yes. Organizers and attendees at public events, such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social events, cultural events and sporting events using university facilities are required to abide by the policy. Organizers of such events are responsible for communicating the policy to attendees.

Does the university require people to quit using tobacco/nicotine products?

No. However, A&M-Commerce encourages current tobacco/nicotine users to explore this option. The university is committed to supporting all students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco/nicotine products with cessation resources. Students, faculty and staff who choose to continue using tobacco/nicotine products may do so, but only on their own time and in areas not owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by A&M-Commerce.

What resources are available to help those who want to quit using tobacco products?

On-campus assistance to overcome addiction to tobacco/nicotine products is available for students from Student Health Services and the Counseling Center.

On-campus assistance to overcome addiction to tobacco/nicotine products is available for faculty and staff from Human Resources Employee Assistance Program.

Are there designated smoking or tobacco use areas on campus?

No. The availability of designated smoking/tobacco/vaping use areas will end as of January 1, 2020.

Definitions

Tobacco means all forms of tobacco products, including but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookah), bidis, kreteks, smokeless tobacco, snuff and chewing tobacco.

Smoking refers to the use or carrying of a lighted pipe, cigar or cigarette.

Vaping means electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), vaping device and any non-FDA approved nicotine delivery device.