Fact Sheet

What does it mean to be tobacco free?

On a tobacco free campus, smoking and the use of all prohibited products is not  permitted in any areas including property leased or owned by the university.  Smoking is defined as inhaling or burning any lighted or heated tobacco or other substance, whether natural or synthetic, in any matter or any form. 

What is considered a prohibited product?

Tobacco is defined as all tobacco-derived or containing products, including but not limited to:

  • cigarettes (e.g., clove, bidis, kreteks)
  • electronic cigarettes and vaping substances and devices in all their forms, including but not limited to cigalikes, aerosol or vapor delivery devices, commonly known as ENDS- Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems 
  • cigars and cigarillos
  • hookah smoked products, including but not limited to pipes, water pipes or other devices using smoke and/or vapor
  • oral or nasal tobacco, including but not limited to spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff

Who is affected?

This initiative applies to all students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors, and other persons on campus, regardless of the purpose for their visit.

How will the initiative be enforced?

All members of the Yale community share responsibility to respect this policy. Since the initiative announcement in 2015, the focus has been educational, supporting and engaging tobacco users to quit. Through continued peer support and voluntary compliance, the goal remains to foster behavior and culture change over time.  We continue to partner with our tobacco free champions, operational units, and campus ambassadors to increase community engagement and support culture change.

Are there designated smoking areas on campus?

There are no designated smoking areas on a tobacco free campus.   The goal is for all cigarette urns to be phased out over the next year. However, during this transition phase and as our visitors adjust to our policy, a limited number of designated smoking areas will be placed at conference centers and be at least 25 feet away from doorways and air intakes.  

The School of Public Health is tobacco free, however, the School of Medicine will remain smoke free with limited designated smoking areas.

Does this initiative apply to New Haven owned streets and sidewalks?

No. However, we do ask those who choose to smoke off campus to be considerate of our New Haven neighbors, dispose of cigarette butts and other litter appropriately and be mindful of second-hand smoke.

What about tobacco users who don’t want to quit?

The Tobacco Free Yale initiative doesn’t require that tobacco users quit, they just can no longer use tobacco on campus. We are aware that nicotine is a highly addictive drug.  We encourage tobacco users to prepare to address nicotine withdrawal symptoms during the work and school day similar as to what would be required when visiting other tobacco free environments or when flying across country.  Nicotine replacement products, like gum, patches, mints or lozenges are encouraged for times when it is inconvenient to smoke. Many of these products are provided free-of-charge to the Yale community.

Isn’t tobacco use a legal right?

While tobacco is a legal product for adult use, state law allows that the university may establish rules regarding tobacco use on its property.

What cessation support is available?

Yale recognizes that quitting tobacco use can be a significant personal challenge and that cessation programs are an integral component in implementing a tobacco free campus. To encourage and support users in their efforts to quit, Yale offers comprehensive tobacco cessation resources for faculty, students, staff and their family members, many free of charge.