Penn State Scranton sign at main campus entrance

Campus implementing smoke- and tobacco-free policy starting January 2019

By: Amy Gruzesky

Penn State Scranton is now a smoke- and tobacco-free campus, with smoking and tobacco products in campus buildings, grounds, campus leased properties, facilities and vehicles no longer allowed.

The use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, all nicotine delivery devices and other tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and vaping products, are no longer allowed in any Penn State Scranton-owned or leased properties, facilities and vehicles – and pertains to faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

In announcing the policy at Penn State Scranton, Chancellor Marwan Wafa said, “Penn State Scranton is committed to enhance the health of students, staff, faculty, and visitors. This policy is in line with our strategy of providing a clean and welcoming learning and work environment.”

The campus is offering  help to any campus employees and students who are current tobacco users but may be interested in giving up tobacco.

“Campus Health Services is offering information and smoking cessation assistance and resources to students and employees who are current tobacco users and may be interested in quitting,” said Campus Nurse Jill Thoman.

For the start of the spring semester, the campus smoking huts will be removed from the campus and information and public service announcements about the policy, its restrictions, and tobacco cessation programs are being communicated to the campus community through a variety of means, including emails, news stories, newsletters, campus signage, and social media.

Penn State is the 11th school in the Big Ten Conference to implement such a policy, and one of 1,500 nationwide, including several regional universities.

A University task force comprised of members from across the Penn State community — including students, faculty and staff — recommended the policy change. Penn State Scranton’s Student Government Association was in favor of the change and supports the new policy.

According to the policy, smoking includes the burning of any type of lit pipe, cigar, cigarette, or any other smoking equipment, whether filled with tobacco or any other type of material. Tobacco is defined as all tobacco-derived or containing products, including and not limited to cigarettes (e.g., clove, bidis, kreteks, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos), hookah smoked products, pipes and oral tobacco (e.g., spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco. It also includes any product intended to mimic tobacco products, contain tobacco flavoring or deliver nicotine. Products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, when used for cessation, are not considered tobacco under this policy.

“This policy change is the result of extensive work and collaboration between students, faculty, staff and community members across Penn State. We are excited for this change to enhance the health of our University community,” said Linda LaSalle, the University’s director of health promotion and wellness.

Smoking and tobacco use for the purpose of research or cultural or religious practices will be exempt from this policy. In addition, smoking and tobacco use are permitted in personal vehicles on Penn State properties.