Frequently Asked Questions
Why should UMaine become tobacco free?
UMaine has a responsibility to its students, faculty and staff to provide a safe and healthy environment. Research shows that tobacco use in general, in addition to the effects of secondhand smoke, constitutes a significant health hazard. Tobacco use contributes to university costs in several ways, including those associated with absenteeism, health care, medical insurance and cleaning and maintenance.
To whom does the tobacco-free policy apply?
The policy applies to anyone who is on the University of Maine campus, including faculty and staff members, students, contractors, vendors, volunteers and visitors. It applies to all tobacco and smoking products.
Where does the tobacco-free policy apply?
The use of tobacco is prohibited throughout the UMaine campus in Orono, including university buildings, parking areas, athletic fields and arenas. It also applies to university vehicles and other university property — located statewide — not otherwise leased to another organization. Personal, private, leased, or borrowed vehicles not owned by the university, when on the UMaine campus, are also prohibited areas of tobacco use.
What resources are available to help those who would like to quit using tobacco?
The following tobacco cessation resources and programs are available for faculty and staff members:
- HealthyU Employee Wellness Program – 581-4058
- EAP Services – 581-4014
- Cutler Health Center – 581-4018
- UMS RiseUp Health Coaching – 1-855-274-7387
- UMS Health Plan Enrollees – Contact Cigna at 1-800-564-7642 or your Primary Care Physician
- Maine Tobacco Helpline – 1-800-207-1230
For a list outside resources, please visit the Campus and Web Resources page.
What about the rights of tobacco users?
This policy does not remove any person’s right to use tobacco, but it does prohibit such behaviors on university property. The policy is built on a foundation of respect for both tobacco users and those who do not use tobacco, engendering an environment of mutual respect and clean air.
Why not build designated smoking shelters?
Tobacco use has a strong social component. Research indicates that designated areas would actually promote more tobacco use on campus. Shelters would also be expensive, and threats associated with secondhand smoke would remain.
Why does UMaine need a new policy?
The previous policy was ineffective and did not address public health concerns. That policy, which prohibited smoking within 20 feet of buildings, was not working and many members of the UMaine community — notably the maintenance and custodial staff — requested a more restrictive policy.
How is the policy being communicated?
Posters, signs, notices in event programs, wallet cards and advertising will all contribute to increased awareness that we are a tobacco-free campus. Notices have been included in new employee materials since January 2011 and will be included in new materials distributed to outside groups using university facilities.
How is the policy being enforced?
The policy was formally announced ten months before it was implemented to give community members time to adjust behaviors in such a way that enforcement would not be an issue. As with other university policies, compliance is an expectation for all employees, students and visitors. Initial enforcement will involve education, awareness, interventions and referrals for smoking cessation support. Existing progressive disciplinary procedures will then be used as necessary and appropriate for violations. Please contact your supervisor, Human Resources (employees) or Student Affairs (students) for assistance regarding specific enforcement concerns.
What should I do if I see someone using tobacco on university grounds?
Faculty, staff and students who see individuals smoking on university grounds may respectfully inform these individuals of the university policy prohibiting tobacco use anywhere on university grounds. Individuals who do not feel comfortable approaching someone violating the policy can notify a member of the Tobacco-Free Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How should managers/supervisors talk to employees about the policy?
We recommend that managers/supervisors remind employees of this policy and seek their cooperation with compliance. Supervisors are encouraged to communicate the university’s smoking cessation assistance opportunities to employees and consult with Human Resources prior to implementing disciplinary action. A “Supervisor Talking Tips” document is available on the Campus and Web Resources page to assist in how to approach the topic.
What can supervisors do to help personnel comply with the policy?
It is important to realize that an employee who violates the UMaine tobacco-free policy will be dealing with a powerful addiction. A face-to-face meeting with the employee to discuss concerns is always the best place to start. The following tips can help:
- Gain agreement that the problem exists.
- Emphasize that you don’t expect or require the employee to quit tobacco use, but that the employee must comply with the UMaine tobacco-free policy while on UMaine property.
- If the employee indicates an interest in quitting, direct him or her to available resources.
Is there any change to existing break policies to allow smokers to go off campus to smoke?
No. Non-exempt employees will continue to get the same breaks and meal periods currently in effect.