Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Stony Brook University tobacco-free?
Stony Brook has a vital interest in maintaining a respectful, safe, healthy and clean community. In an effort to embrace such values, the University is committed to providing an environment that is tobacco-free and free from secondhand smoke. Stony Brook joined the ranks of more than 1,400 other schools around the nation, including several SUNY schools, and many public areas such as airports/airplanes, train stations/trains, sporting venues, hotels, restaurants and parks, that are also tobacco-free.
When did the tobacco-free policy go into effect?
The tobacco-free policy went into effect on January 1, 2016.
Where is this policy in effect and to whom does it apply?
This policy applies to all students, employees, and visitors (which includes vendors, volunteers, contractors, etc.) at all Stony Brook University, Stony Brook Southampton and Stony Brook Manhattan locations.
How is tobacco defined under this policy?
Tobacco includes all tobacco and tobacco-derived products intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: cigarettes (e.g., clove, bidis, kreteks), electronic cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, hookah-smoked products, oral and smokeless tobacco (e.g., dip, chew, snuff, spit). This definition does not include any product that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a tobacco cessation product.
Are electronic cigarettes (also known as "e-cigs") included in this policy?
Yes. Using an electronic cigarette or "vaping" is prohibited. This policy includes any product that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a tobacco cessation product.
Is the use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) permissible?
The use of an NRT is permissible under this policy. NRTs may include nicotine chewing gum, skin patches, inhalers and lozenges. For information about NRTs, please visit our Tobacco-Free Resources page.
Are there designated areas for smokers/tobacco users on campus?
No. There are no designated areas for smokers and tobacco users on campus.
How does the University enforce this policy?
Since this policy is a community initiative based on mutual respect with the goal of fostering a cultural change, a gradual approach to enforcement was taken initially. In the early phase of this initiative, informing our community about this policy and providing education and support for those who wished to cease using tobacco were paramount. Now that the policy has been in place for over a year, noncompliance, as with all policies, is handled by the supervisor or referred to the appropriate administrative office.
Who is responsible for enforcing this policy?
All of us at Stony Brook have an opportunity to play an active role by informing others that we are a tobacco-free community. University leaders, supervisors, and building managers are expected to support individuals that are seeking to become tobacco-free by making appropriate referrals and to inform/promote compliance in their area(s) of responsibility.
What does the conduct process look like for students who violate the tobacco-free policy?
- Faculty or staff who document a student violating the Tobacco Free Policy should refer the student to the Office of Community Standards.
- If a student is referred for the first time violating the Tobacco Free Policy, a letter from University Community Standards or Residential Community Standards (RCS) office acknowledging the violation will be sent via their Stony Brook email with information about smoking cessation resources.
- In case of further offenses, the student will be called in for a disciplinary conference or to attend a conduct hearing to discuss the repeated violation. If found responsible for the policy violation, a letter of warning will be issued which may include other possible educational sanctions (e.g. community service, educational paper, etc.)
- Please refer to the Code of Student Responsibility to learn about the conduct process.
Is there an expectation for visitors to follow this policy?
Yes. Visitors are expected to comply with this policy, just as they are expected to follow all University policies and standards when visiting our campus. University hosts are responsible for communicating this policy to their visiting guests. Postings throughout the University will also inform visitors that Stony Brook is a tobacco-free environment.
Is the University forcing people to stop using tobacco?
Absolutely not. The tobacco-free policy is not intended to be punitive and does not force individuals to stop smoking or using tobacco outside of our campus. For those who would like smoking and/or tobacco use cessation assistance, Stony Brook University will continue to offer support and services through the Student Health Service, " Healthier U", and Employee Health Services at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Are resources available to those who want to quit using tobacco?
Stony Brook offers many resources to students and employees seeking help with quitting tobacco. Please visit our Tobacco-Free Resources page for more information.
What should I do if I see someone smoking or using tobacco at Stony Brook?
It is up to all of us to spread the word that tobacco use is no longer permissible at Stony Brook. Changing our campus culture is a community effort. If you notice someone smoking or using a tobacco product on campus, you may kindly inform the person that we are a tobacco-free institution. When approaching someone, please be sure to treat them in a friendly and respectful manner. If the smoker becomes hostile or angry upon being approached, do not escalate the situation; simply walk away. Additional resources on how to approach and offer help to a tobacco user may be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How successful does the University think the policy will be?
Adoption of Stony Brook's tobacco-free policy, in and of itself, should be considered a success. Offering programs and support to help people who wish to cease using tobacco is another accomplishment. Reducing second- and third-hand smoke, as well as promoting a cleaner, healthier, safer, and more inviting campus, are other successes this policy aims to achieve.
E-cigarettes and vaping are not tobacco products. Why are they included in this policy?
Stony Brook, along with over 1,300 schools across the country, prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on their campuses. It's no surprise that many schools have moved in this direction. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved to regulate additional tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The use of all forms of tobacco and any nicotine delivery devices that have not been approved by the FDA for cessation purposes are prohibited at Stony Brook. Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products is consistent with the aims of the tobacco-free policy.