Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

Tobacco-Free FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

To whom does the policy apply?
The policy applies to anyone who is on any of Delaware County Community College’s campuses or centers. This includes all employees, students, visitors, vendors, volunteers and contractors.

Are there any exceptions to the policy?

Whose idea was it to create this policy?
The Tobacco Free Policy is a student-driven initiative, worked on and supported by the student government since 2008. This program was initiated by the students and not imposed from the administration.  Students were asked for comment on tobacco use at the College beginning in 2008, and students have been involved in the whole process (writing the policy, sitting on the committee, presenting forums to students and staff). 

Do other colleges and universities have a tobacco-free policy?
Yes, more than 600 colleges and universities in the United States have implemented a 100 percent tobacco-free policy. Nearby colleges with a similar policy include Widener University and Eastern University.

What about the rights of tobacco users?
The policy does not remove any person’s right to use tobacco, but it does prohibit such behaviors on college 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.

But doesn’t this policy discriminate against tobacco users?
Federal and State law protects people from discrimination for such characteristics as race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation and national origin, among others. College policy on discrimination and harassment applies to these legally protected classes. Neither Federal nor Pennsylvania law provides protections for tobacco users.

Why not create designated smoking areas?
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.

Is the College forcing individuals to quit using tobacco products?
The College community is not trying to make people quit using tobacco. If people decide to quit, we will encourage them. If not, they can use tobacco, but just not on College owned or leased property.

Are e-cigarettes included in the Tobacco-Free Policy?
An e-cigarette is a new product that was not widely available when the College’s Tobacco-Free Policy was developed. There have been no conclusive tests on their danger to users and others. For those reasons, e-cigarettes are not included in the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy. However, consistent with current practice, the use of e-cigarettes is prohibited inside any College building or near any building entrance.

For all other situations the College insists that rules of common courtesy apply when utilizing these devices in close proximity to others. Should the law or regulations change or results of scientific studies become more conclusive, the College reserves the right to include e-cigarettes in the Tobacco-Free Policy.

Does this policy mean that other unhealthy products will be banned?
No. In the case of tobacco, there are proven adverse effects on other people beyond the individual tobacco user. With something like caffeinated beverages or unhealthy snacks, only the individual consuming the product is affected by it.

How will the Tobacco-Free Policy be enforced?
The College’s overall compliance philosophy is one of respect and understanding. We know that the transition will be difficult for some, and will support them with informational materials and cessation programs.

The College expects all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors to comply with the Tobacco-Free policy. Members of our campus community are empowered to respectfully inform others about the policy in an ongoing effort to enhance awareness and encourage a culture of compliance.

Campus Security staff will also be responsible for reminding any faculty, staff, student, visitor, contractor, or guest who is using tobacco on College property about the College’s Tobacco-Free Policy.

Student Affairs and Human Resources will maintain a record of people who do not comply with the policy, and administer any disciplinary action. Disciplinary action will follow the same procedures and timetables as any other student or HR disciplinary action. Please refer to the policy, for potential consequences of not complying. 

Where does the policy apply?
The use of tobacco products (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco and any other tobacco products) is prohibited:

  • In all interior spaces on the College’s campuses
  • On all outside property of the College’s campuses or spaces being used by or on behalf of the College, including parking lots, driveways, pathways, stairs, woods, athletic fields, and partially enclosed areas such as walkways and bus shelters
  • In all indoor and outdoor athletic facilities being used by or on behalf of the College

In addition, the College expects that our students and employees will be good neighbors and not congregate on residential or other businesses' properties.