Tobacco-Free Policy FAQs

1. What does OU's tobacco-free policy prohibit?

The use, sale, distribution, or advertising of tobacco products is prohibited on any university property.

2. Why is OU going tobacco-free?

  • OU is committed to providing its students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a healthy, clean, and safe place to work, live, and learn. 
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Oklahoma. A tobacco-free campus protects everyone from the health dangers related to secondhand smoke. This is significant according to the latest U.S. Surgeon General's report, "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," which concludes that no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke exists.
  • A tobacco-free campus also serves as a positive example for others—especially secondary school students and children on our campus. 
  • Lastly, a tobacco-free campus supports the public health efforts of our community, state and nation.

3. What does tobacco-free mean?

Smoking or use of any tobacco product including an electronic cigarette or device intended to simulate smoking will not be permitted in any facility or grounds controlled by the University of Oklahoma.

4. Does this policy apply to chewing tobacco and other forms of tobacco?

Yes, the tobacco policy prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco including: 

  • cigarettes
  • cigars
  • pipes
  • chewing tobacco
  • snuff
  • all other forms of tobacco prepared in such a manner to be suitable for spit tobacco use, smoking, or both.
  • herbal tobacco products
  • simulated tobacco products that imitate or mimic tobacco products including, but not limited to, cloves, bidis, and kreteks.

5. Are electronic cigarettes allowed?

No, Governor Mary Fallin issued Executive Order 2013-43 on Dec. 23, 2013 prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices on state property effective Jan. 1, 2014. This includes all state-owned colleges and universities.

6. Who is affected by this policy?

The policy applies to every person on any University of Oklahoma campus including the following.

  • visitors
  • faculty
  • staff
  • volunteers
  • students
  • alumni
  • contractors
  • service representatives.

7. Does the policy apply to student housing?

Yes, the policy applies to all areas of campus, including student housing.

8. Are other universities tobacco-free?

Yes, when this change was implemented July 1, 2012, OU joined more than 500 other United States colleges and universities with tobacco-free or smoke-free policies in place for the entire campus, indoors and out.

9. Isn't smoking a legal right?

10. Are OU's students, employees, and visitors to campus prohibited from bringing tobacco products on campus?

The policy does not prohibit the possession of tobacco products on campus, but the sale of tobacco products on campus is prohibited.

11. What about students and employees located in off-campus buildings?

The tobacco-free campus policy extends to all OU campuses and facilities. All students, visitors, and employees will be expected to support and follow the policy.

12. What areas of campus does the tobacco-free policy cover?

The policy includes any and all OU-owned, leased, rented, or maintained property, including, but not limited to the following.

  • buildings
  • facilities
  • sidewalks
  • roadways
  • parking lots
  • grounds
  • all university owned, leased, or rented vehicles

13. What about smoking or tobacco use on sidewalks on and around campus?

OU 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 campus.

14. Can people smoke or use tobacco in personal vehicles while on campus?

No, tobacco use is prohibited in all OU-operated parking areas, both inside and outside of vehicles, while on all OU campuses.

15. What is expected of people who leave campus or cross the street into neighboring properties to smoke?

The OU 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.

16. What can I do if I see an area where the policy is being violated?

Enforcement of this policy is an ongoing process that involves community awareness and cooperation. Certain areas on campus may need more resources to increase compliance with the OU tobacco-free policy. If you know of such areas, please email your comments to BreatheEasy@ou.edu.

17. How will the tobacco-free policy be enforced?

The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of tobacco users and non tobacco users. Faculty, staff, and students have a collective responsibility to promote the safety and health of the campus community; therefore, sharing in the responsibility of enforcement. Individuals observed smoking or using tobacco products are to be reminded in a professional and courteous manner of the university policy. Non-compliance of the tobacco policy will be handled through existing campus processes.

18. What will happen to employees, students, and visitors who do not comply with the tobacco-free policy?

OU community members are encouraged to voluntarily comply with the university's tobacco-free policy. Consequences for violating the policy may include the following.

  • a verbal warning
  • employee disciplinary action
  • student misconduct action
  • escort off of campus property
  • ticketing
  • fine

After receiving an initial warning and reminder of the policy, the fine for a second violation is $10 and the fine for additional violations is $50 per violation.

Employees who repeatedly violate university policy will be reported to their supervisor. The supervisor will be responsible for enforcing the work place rules for their staff. OU will follow standard employee disciplinary procedures for compliance issues.

Students who repeatedly violate university policy may be subject to a number of actions though University Housing or the Office of Student Affairs.

Visitors may be asked by the OU Police Department to leave university premises for failure to comply.

19. What resources are available for students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco products?

Resources are available through Healthy Sooners.