Lifestyles Center Blog


If you are a student at SUNY Oswego, chances are you are not entirely clear on the campus smoking/ tobacco policy. If you are not a Senior, you probably heard about the policy while you were sweaty and nervous, sitting next to your mommy/daddy/grammy/grampy at orientation. If you are a Senior, you probably had no idea about the policy until signs started popping up and you saw student hiding in dumpsters smoking cigarettes. To try and clarify it for you, I have summarized and simplified both the SUNY-wide, tobacco-free policy as well as SUNY Oswego’s individual policy, which is tobacco-free and smoke-free.

The SUNY Tobacco-Free Policy

For many years, the SUNY System has taken pride in their tobacco-free policy. The Chancellor and the Board of Trustees of the SUNY System remain committed to a Tobacco Free SUNY. They ask that all SUNY campuses implement strategies to “drive their campuses toward the tobacco-free goal.” They recognize that no campus can effectively achieve a tobacco-free campus without addressing both social and collective bargaining issues and that “time, collaboration and full dialogue are critical to the process.”

SUNY is compelled to contribute to a healthier generation and given the statistics, it is important to pass tobacco-free policies to limit the exposure to tobacco in the college environment. According to the American Cancer Society, in NYS, the rate of smoking in the 18- 24 age group is 14.9% (2014) which is twice the 7.3% rate found among New York High School students. This suggesting a significant number of youth are initiating cigarette use while attending New York’s colleges.

Health risks associated with the use of tobacco products are well documented. Since 1990 when the college first implemented the policy related to smoking on campus, additional studies have also indicated that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) is a significant risk for the non-smoker. Therefore, the SUNY policy prohibits the use of tobacco products on campus, at extension campuses, at all indoor and outdoor events, college sponsored programs and activities off campus, in personally owned vehicles parked on campus, and all vehicles and equipment owned leased or operated by the College and its affiliate organizations. Use of tobacco products such as pipes, hookas and e-cigarettes, etc. is also prohibited.

The SUNY Oswego Tobacco-Free, Smoke-Free Policy

In addition to the tobacco-free SUNY policy, SUNY Oswego is also a smoke-free campus. For the last couple of years, the new policy has been more and more implemented on campus. The effectiveness of this policy relies on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of all members and visitors to the college for success. Respectfully observing this policy will reduce the health risk and environmental byproducts of tobacco use and other smoking materials. Particularly in an academic community, mutual respect among community members, which sets up a platform for education and discourse. To make that possible, mutual respect for each other and the community’s well-being is crucial to all members assuming responsibility to create and maintain the quality of our learning community.

Responsibility for complying with the policy rests first and foremost with the individual. While there is not “punishments” stated for non-compliance, refusing to comply will most likely result in an educational response by a faculty member, a university policeman, a resident assistant, or another dedicated student, such as a peer educator. “Repeated non-compliance will be referred to the appropriate campus student contact or employee supervisory system for resolution.”

Both policies aim to:

  • Provide a safe, clean and healthy working, living and educational environment.
  • Assist members of our college community who wish to overcome tobacco/smoking addictions.
  • Encourage respect for all members of our college community, whether smokers or non-smokers.
  • Improve college and community awareness of the importance of tobacco-free, clean, smoke-free air and grounds.
  • Decrease tobacco use/ smoking through culture shift and social norming.
  • Demonstrate social responsibility for college visitors from around the community and around the globe.

What You Can Do:

  • Quit Smoking!
    • The College knows that tobacco and nicotine are addictive substances, that quitting is difficult, and that people wishing to quit often need support.
    • Cessation services and prevention programming are offered for students during both the fall and spring semesters.
      • Prevention programming occurs through active and passive methodologies.
      • Students interested in cessation programs are encouraged to contact the Health Center at 315-312-4100.
  • Educate!
    • If you see someone smoking or using tobacco on campus, you can remind them of the policy and ask them to stop, depending how comfortable you are.
    • If you know someone who smokes and/or uses tobacco and who wished to quit, help them find the right resources. Remind them of the services provided on campus and point them toward Mary Walker Health Center
    • For more info, visit the OzQuits website:

Written and researched by Sarah Pasquarelli, Peer Educator

Photo Cred:Here