What is the University of Kansas Tobacco Free Policy?
University of Kansas is still looking at developing the tobacco free policy. The draft policy had been created based the feedback from campus. The committee is always looking for more feedback. Please visit http://tobaccofree.ku.edu/draft-policy
for the most current draft.
Who does the policy affect?
All university employees, students and visitors are expected to adhere to the Tobacco Free Policy while on the University of Kansas campus and properties.
What are other colleges and universities doing?
Many university are or in the process of becoming tobacco free. For a complete list of colleges and universities with tobacco free policies http://tobaccofreecampus.org/
What resources are available for people to stop using tobacco?
We have provided some resources about for Tobacco Cessation on our website. For more information please visithttp://tobaccofree.ku.edu/cessation-information
. Free Tobacco Cessation services include KanQuit, KU cessation services, smartphone applications These services, along with a tobacoo-free campus policy can which can complement your insurance plan’s coverage of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (including Medicare) to help you successfully stay quit.
Is a Smoke/Tobacco-free Policy a violation of civil and Constitutional rights?
No. There is no Constitutional right to smoke or use tobacco. Tobacco users are not a category protected under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, nor is tobacco use a protected liberty right under the Due Process clause of the Constitution.
What is defined as a tobacco product?
Tobacco is defined as all tobacco-derived or containing products, including and not limited to, cigarettes (e.g., clove, bidis, kreteks), electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah smoked products, pipes, and oral tobacco (e.g., spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco (e.g. snus). It also includes any product intended to mimic tobacco products, contain tobacco flavoring, or deliver nicotine other than for the purpose of cessation.
Why are we going tobacco-free and not smoke-free?
A survey what was sent out to the students, faculty, and staff; majority of the individuals on campus support the going tobacco-free. Any form of tobacco has a negative impact on the environment; we are trying to keep our campus looking beautiful for the future.
What if I use a tobacco product in a religious or cultural ritual?
The final draft of the policy has not been completed at this time. In the meantime, we are meeting with different organizations on campus to learn how tobacco is used in religious and other cultural rituals. We are taking their feedback and suggestion into account as the policy is developed. If you have any suggestion or feedback that will help us, please share them at http://tobaccofree.ku.edu/draft-policy
Is this policy going to effect the possession of tobacco or just tobacco use?
This policy will only effect the use of tobacco on campus.
We will continue to communicate in a variety of ways, including an open comment period on the policy draft which is part of the normal policy review process. The committee will also communicate through our website, campus email, social media, newspaper, and signs up on campus.
Suggestion to incentivize compliancy instead of focusing on enforcing those who choose to not comply.
The State Employee Health Plan provides “points” toward the reduction of health insurance premiums for non-smokers. The Steering Committee can investigate other incentive possibilities.
Will there be any training for supervisors who manage staff who smoke?
Specific training for this topic was not envisioned, but some supervisory guidelines could be developed, and training made available if requested.
When will the policy take place?
The goal for the Tobacco Free Policy to take effect would be Fall 2016.
Will there be a transition period for students and staff that currently use tobacco products?
The first year will be our “education” year. Enforcement of the policy will be done after the first year with repeat violators. . Educational resources and cessation support will always be available to the KU and Lawrence community.
Will this policy be voted on?
This is an administrative policy and will not require a vote. However, input and engagement from members of the community are being sought to influence the policy development. Check out our page of endorsements by KU organizations and add your organization’s endorsement to show your support of the policy!
Will this policy effect productivity levels for employees that are experiencing side effects from the process of quitting?
Other universities that have already successfully implemented a tobacco free policy have not experienced any productivity losses. In fact, as individuals successfully quit using tobacco products they are likely to feel healthier and more productive. We highly suggest using cessation aids to fight the side effects of nicotine addiction. Please check out our tobacco cessation resources section for more information.
Where do policies like this end? Will it be junk food next? Soda?
Change is a constant so it is not possible to predict future policies. Currently, the University is not considering policies in these other areas.
How will this policy be enforced?
Enforcement is the most challenging component of this policy. That’s why we are emphasizing this as a cultural change which will take time (1 to 3 years) to see noteworthy improvement in compliance.
How should I approach someone who is smoking on campus?
It is appropriate to remind the individual in a friendly, respectful manner that KU does not permit smoking on campus. Example: "Hello, my name is ______ (your name) and I am a(n) ______ (position) here with the University of Kansas. Are you aware that we do not allow the use of tobacco products of any kind on campus? I ask you to please respect our policy and put your cigarette out (or other tobacco product) and dispose of it in a trash can. Instead of using tobacco, we have nicotine replacement available for a discounted price to manage your cravings and help you feel more comfortable."
When will enforcement/compliancy start after the ‘education’ period?
No definitive decision has been made yet, but the second year of the policy may be a reasonable time period to begin enforcement.
What will the exact sanctions be for faculty/staff, students and guests?
No definitive decision has been made yet, but it is likely that the normal sanctions for unprofessional conduct will be used for repeat faculty/staff and student employee offenders, student misconduct sanctions for repeat student offenders, and policy reminders for repeat offender guests that can be identified.
Will residents still be able to smoke outside of housing? If residents can still smoke outside, will employees flock to the residence halls to smoke outside in a ‘smoking zone’?
The current Student Housing policy allows the use of e-cigarettes in rooms. The draft policy indicates Student Housing policies will apply to properties owned by Student Housing. We will seek clarification on the boundaries of “Student Housing vs. University property” as it applies to “outside” use of tobacco products. The future behavior of smokers is not possible to predict. The Steering Committee does plan to meet with neighborhood associations on the boundaries of University property to alert them to this policy change.
Many people do not understand how addictive tobacco use is and how challenging this policy will be for people. Aren’t people’s choices being taken away even though tobacco is a legal substance and very addictive substance?
Addictive behaviors are personally challenging, but they must be personally addressed. Employers and educational institutions may provide support mechanisms for addressing addictions, but they are not legally required to allow such behaviors on their premises, nor to provide support mechanism to overcome them. Alcohol is addictive and not illegal but its consumption is not allowed during work or class attendance. The University is taking steps to provide personal support for individuals who want to stop using tobacco products while creating a healthy, safe, sustainability-aware, and respectful work and learning environment.
Who will be enforcing the Tobacco Free policy? KU Public Safety?
When we begin to enforce the policy, the normal avenues for enforcement of misconduct will be used. Campus administrators are responsible for ensuring appropriate conduct by faculty, staff and student employees. Misconduct of students is handled through the student misconduct process.
What responsibilities do all KU faculty, staff and students have to report violations? Will reported violations need documented proof (e.g., pictures of staff smoking on campus rather than hearsay)?
Faculty, staff and students always have the opportunity to report violations of university policy and incidents of misconduct. They may report those incidents in whatever format desired. Specific information is helpful when reporting any policy violation, e.g. who, what, where, when. It is hoped that faculty, staff and students will politely remind smokers of the university policy.
What will violations entail? A fine? A letter in their HR file? A letter to their supervisor? Mandatory attendance in a tobacco cessation program?
Corrective measures of any kind are dependent upon the facts of the circumstance. KU adheres to the principle of progressive discipline, meaning starting with the lowest form of corrective measures. For example, progressive discipline may include verbal counseling, a written reprimand, suspension, and dismissal. Repeated violations are treated with increased levels of severity. It is unlikely the University would "force" participation in cessation programs, but those programs are certainly available and offered to any interested.
To whom are violations going to be reported? HR? KU Public Safety? Supervisors?
For faculty, staff and student employees, violations should be reported to supervisors/department heads who should contact HR. Individuals may also contact HR directly. Violations by students may be reported to the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs or to HR.
What happens if a staff member fails to report a violation or fails to approach someone who is smoking on campus? Will they be disciplined? Will KU individuals be incentivized to report violations?
Staff members will not be disciplined for failing to report a violation of this policy, though it is hoped staff will politely remind violators about the policy. We do not anticipate providing incentives for reporting violations.
Is KU proposing to hire staff that would enforce this policy who are basically Tobacco Police? Or will these new responsibilities be added to existing staff workloads?
Individuals will not be hired to enforce this policy. It is the already the responsibility of supervisors and managers to enforce university policies so this one is no different.
Can KU staff members be fired for breaking the Tobacco Free policy? How many infractions will that require? Just one? Or perhaps three strikes and employees are disciplined? Will that be included in the policy or will it be a separate policy?
Formal disciplinary action could result from repeated infractions of any policy as described above. The formal disciplinary process is not based on numbers but the facts of the situation and the history of a person's corrective measures. No separate disciplinary process will be developed for this policy; it will instead use existing disciplinary processes.
Will staff be able to appeal violations per the grievance policy?
If staff are formally disciplined, they will have access to whatever appeal process is available by University policy for the level of sanction applied.
What will implementing such a policy do to employee productivity? Will KU need to adopt additional break periods during the workday (that are perhaps longer – to accommodate staff leaving campus – and more frequent than the Federal requirement of 15 minutes per 4 hours for employees who currently take frequent smoke breaks)? Many staff I know do not use their 15 minute break periods as they can very easily and quickly step outside to smoke (in approximately the same time it would take them to go to the restroom). Will implementing this policy lead to more time where employees are out of their offices?
Federal law does not require 15 minute breaks. It is a common business practice in the U.S., but it's not required by law. We do not anticipate lengthening break or lunch periods because of this policy. It is speculation to anticipate effects of productivity for this policy. However, it has not been reported as significantly different by those universities who have adopted such policies.
Will personal cars parked on the KU campus be considered part of the campus or personal, private space in which employees can smoke or consume tobacco? Do you think more employees will leave campus for lunch as a result? Will KU Dining and KU shops suffer?
Many universities have allowed use of tobacco in private cars. That will be considered as the policy is reviewed. The use of personal, unpaid lunch hour time is at the discretion of employees. The policy for tobacco use will be applied to all faculty and staff, regardless of their department.
Related to parking, as more and more parking gets pushed farther out from Jayhawk Boulevard, staff will have to walk longer distances (and take off more time) in order to smoke off campus. Please also keep in mind that employees with seniority (and therefore blue and gold parking over red) often have the parking closest to buildings, and as permits levels rise from red to blue to gold … so too does the likelihood of those staff members being salaried opposed to hourly. This allows salaried staff with blue or gold parking (who also probably have higher aggregate salaries than staff with re parking) to get to their cars quicker and more easily than hourly staff with red parking … with the latter having to request time off for the longer times it takes them to go from their office to their vehicle.
Noted below is the Parking & Transit rule for the assignment of parking permits which is based on the sum of years of service and age, not taking rate of pay or salaried/hourly status into consideration. "4.4 Assignment of parking privileges. Faculty and staff shall normally be assigned gold, blue or red parking permits. In general, the criterion for blue permits is total of age plus service in State of Kansas employment equaling at least 62, and for gold permits is age plus service equaling at least 70. For gold permits, the applicant’s primary campus location is only accessible from Jayhawk Boulevard." As previously noted, we do not anticipate extending break or lunch periods because of this policy.
If visitors are exempt, if a student or employee gets caught smoking … can they simply claim that they are a visitor? Or will those “policing” or enforcing the policy have the right to demand a driver’s license or KU ID? Or how will they know if an individual is a visitor or not (unless well-known)?
A university policy will not prevent people who are inclined to lie from doing so. I do not anticipate the University insisting on verification of identity to enforce this policy.
For the transition year or “education period,” if still being proposed, would it be better to have that year be Smoke Free until all of the details are sorted out for the Tobacco Free policy? Without knowing the details of if/how staff are punishable and who is enforcing the policy – I am not sure I can be for or against this initiative. The details are important because if the policy exists but is not enforced, I am not sure what good it does to be able to claim we are Tobacco Free … if violations are more the norm than the exception.
The existing policy is already "smoke free" and has been for several years. Violations of the existing smoking policy (no smoking within 20 feet of the building) are now the exception, not the norm. We do not expect the violations to be any more significant than they now are.
Will KU Edwards campus remain separate or are they considering this initiative too?
Yes, Edwards campus will be included in the initiative, and they are supportive of it.
I believe this policy should be campus-wide if it goes into effect. The athletics facilities should be included as it seems a bit of an oxymoron for sporting events (where top-tier athletes play) to allow tobacco over the general campus. I also see staff flocking to the bounds of Allen Fieldhouse or Memorial Stadium if they can in fact smoke there.
Athletics has indicated that they will follow the new policy when enacted, prohibiting tobacco use in/outside the field house and stadium.
Could the committee possibly hold additional Town Halls or just Q and A sessions that have a minimum of an hour devoted to questions and answers?
Additional town halls will be scheduled. We will consider decreasing the number of speakers. However, part of the goal of the town halls is also to provide educational information.
Will KU convenience stores carry nicotine patches and/or gum? Or do they already now? Could KU partner with nicotine patch/gum companies and offer them to faculty, staff and/or students at a steep discount? Perhaps some could be given out for free at Town Halls?
Those stores are privately owned, not by KU. Their inventory choices are no doubt driven by consumer demand. Benefits eligible faculty and staff can get nicotine patches and other cessation options through our State health insurance plan at no cost if enrolled in our plan.
Do you think business that are adjacent to campus will take advantage of the opportunity to accommodate smokers? For example, maybe Jayhawk Bookstore could build a smoking patio, sell tobacco products and benefit from its proximity?
We plan to visit with campus "neighbors" about our initiative. It would be their business decision as to how they address the changes related to the policy.
Is the Fall 2015 rollout definitive?
The Provost and/or Chancellor will make the final decision on the effective date of the policy. That decision has not yet been made.
Will all KU staff be given an opportunity to vote on the policy or is it going to happen one way or another with or without a vote?
The policy is an administrative one which does not involve "votes" for acceptance. There will be an open review period for comment on the policy this spring, and the meetings we are currently having are another source for input. In addition we will continue to engage campus governance organizations in a dialog about the policy to determine its potential implementation.
Would you consider posting any and all comments/questions to the tobaccofree.ku.edu website (in addition to the FAQ)? I find the questions that other staff members ask to be quite informative sometimes.
We are posting comment/questions on the website as they are received and answered.