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Frequently Asked Questions

When did the smoke-free policy start?

Jan. 1, 2010

Don't we already have a Smoke-Free policy? How is this policy any different?

Smoking in buildings has long been prohibited. In 2005, DU modified the smoking policy to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of building entrances. The new smoke-free policy addresses the public health concern of involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke on campus by prohibiting the use of smoke-producing products on University-owned and operated campus grounds.

Why did DU choose to go smoke free?

The change is a result of recommendations from the University Tobacco Taskforce, which includes members from various departments and student groups on campus. A smoke-free policy was proposed to reduce involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke on campus and to make DU a cleaner, safer and healthier campus. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in this country, responsible for one in every five deaths.

The new policy went into effect on Jan. 1, 2010. Signs are posted across the campus; find more information about the smoke-free policy.

Where can I find the actual policy?

It is University Policy 3.20.050.

Does the policy prohibit the use of all smoke-producing products, or only cigarettes?

The policy prohibits the use of ALL smoke-producing products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookah.

Whom does this policy affect?

This policy applies to all employees, students, visitors, contractors, and external individuals or companies renting University-owned space on University-owned and -operated property campus grounds. In short, it applies to anyone who comes to campus.

What facilities are exempt?

The use of tobacco products will be permitted in select designated areas outside the Ritchie Center and the Newman Center for the Performing Arts due to high traffic of visitors to these buildings for events.

Officials at each respective venue are charged with oversight of the exempt areas of campus where tobacco use is permitted, and each must adopt and post internal policies.

Otherwise, the policy applies to all University-owned and -operated campus grounds. This includes but is not limited to all outdoor common and educational areas, all University buildings, fraternities and sororities, University-owned, on-campus housing, campus sidewalks, campus parking lots, recreational areas, and outdoor stadiums, and University-owned and leased vehicles (regardless of location).

Does this policy apply to city-owned streets, sidewalks and right-of-ways?

DU has no jurisdiction over the use of city-owned streets, sidewalks and right-of-ways. However, please note that many streets and adjacent sidewalks on the campus are University property. Those interested in engaging in smoking-related activities should exercise care to engage in these activities on property that is not University owned and operated.

Does the policy affect facilities off the main area of campus?

Yes; the policy applies to everyone at all DU-owned and -operated facilities, regardless of location.

What is the policy for events on campus at outdoor stadiums? Will the policy remain in effect on weekends too?

The policy is the same no matter when or where the event is held. Smoking is prohibited in any outdoor venue on campus.

Will parking garages and surface lots be smoke-free as well?

Parking garages owned or operated by the University are included within the policy. Garages and surface lots are high-traffic areas for visitors, students and employees as people walk through these spaces to get to events, classrooms, offices, etc.

Can I smoke in my own car?

Smoking is prohibited on the DU campus and this includes parked and moving vehicles while on grounds owned or operated by the University of Denver.

What happens if the policy is violated?

Efforts will be made to ensure faculty, staff, students and campus visitors are aware of the new policy. Individuals who knowingly violate the policy will be referred to the appropriate campus administrative unit for disciplinary action:

  Faculty and staff—Human Resources Office
  Students—Office of Citizenship & Community Standards

What do I do if I see someone smoking?

Administration/supervisors/employees have the responsibility to respectfully remind a smoker that smoking on campus is a violation of DU policy. There is no intent to put employees in confrontational situations.

  • An observer may use Campus Safety's anonymous tip line (303-871-3130) to notify DU about a non-compliant person if a simple reminder is not sufficient.
  • Students may contact the Office of Student Life via email at
  • Faculty/Staff may contact Human Resources through its website,

How will enforcement be handled?

Administration/supervisors/employees have the responsibility to respectfully remind a smoker that smoking on campus is a violation of DU policy. There is no intent to put employees in confrontational situations. Should an individual choose not to comply with the policy, the following processes/personnel will be called upon:

  Students: Citizenship & Community Standards Office: Code of Conduct
  Staff: Human Resources/Supervisor(s)
  Faculty: Human Resources/Department head/Dean

The smoke-free policy does not supersede Colorado state law, which invokes legal action should the smoking violation occur within 15 feet of a building entrance.

Who's in charge of enforcing this policy?

Every DU employee and student has a responsibility to adhere to policy and to remind others of policies.

What are the consequences for employees who violate the policy?

A respectful reminder may be sufficient. However, if an employee knowingly violates policy, then he or she will be subject to disciplinary action, as with any other policy.

Will the police come if called? And what are the consequences?

The police will come for violations of the law. State law prohibits smoking within 15 feet of the entrance of a building.

Isn't this a violation of my civil rights?

No. The trustees of the University of Denver have the authority to govern the use of University property and regulate its use.

Is there a plan for dealing with employees who cross the street from campus/campus property to smoke? How will business owners deal with this?

Common courtesy should prevail. We should strive to be good neighbors. Of course, property owners have the right to protect their property and request police action for trespassing.

Is there a plan for dealing with an increase in litter (i.e., cigarette butts in parking lots and other areas)?

There should be no increase in litter because the campus is smoke free. Facility Services staff members will continue to clean DU's campus in the same manner they always have.

Should managers/supervisors talk to employees about the policy?

Yes. It is recommended that managers and supervisors inform all employees of this policy.

How are visitors notified about the smoke-free policy?

Signs have been placed at all entrances to campus. In addition to an aggressive marketing campaign, any department that has an event on campus involving visitors should notify those visitors via the most efficient means possible of the smoke-free policy.

As an employee or student, do I have to quit smoking?

No. The University is not forcing you to quit smoking, but you cannot smoke on University property. If you are interested in quitting, a number of resources are available to help you quit, including:

  • Contact DU's Health & Counseling Center to learn about upcoming class schedules and to register: 303-871-2205.
  • EContact the Employee Assistance Program (via the Health & Counseling Center) at 303-871-2205 to schedule a meeting with a licensed clinical psychologist.
  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
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I have tried to quit on my own and have not been successful. Are there any medications that may be able to help me?

A variety of options are available, depending on your specific situation. Contact your primary care physician to discuss what is right for you, or schedule an appointment with DU's tobacco treatment specialist to discuss your options.

Can I use the money I put aside in my Flex Spending Account (FSA) benefit to pay for costs related to smoking cessation aids and counseling that are not covered by insurance?

Yes; you can use your FSA money to pay for counseling, nicotine gum not covered by insurance, or for co-pays on items that are partially covered by insurance (patches, nasal sprays, inhalers, drugs for smoking cessation, etc.). If you have questions about using your FSA, call Janna Dyer at Benefits & Incentives Group, at 303-750-6200, Ext. 706.

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