Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is the campus’ policy about smoking, vaping and tobacco use?

Here are the basic policy points:

  • All tobacco use, including smoking, non-combustible tobacco use, and vape is prohibited.
  • No smoking, tobacco use or vaping is allowed on any campus property. This includes all inside and outside areas.
  • All tobacco use, including smoking, non-combustible tobacco use and vaping is prohibited in both university vehicles and in private vehicles parked on campus property.
  • There are no designated smoking, tobacco use /vaping areas.
  • The policy applies to everyone: students, faculty, staff and visitors.
  • The policy applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

To read the entire policy go to

How is the August 2019 policy different from the old policy?

We have expanded our original 2014 policy to ban all forms of tobacco, even non-smoking tobacco. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Smokeless tobacco: This includes products such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus (finely ground tobacco in sachets).
  • Dissolvable: This includes products such as strips and orbs.

Everything from the original policy is still banned. For instance:

  • All forms of smoking tobacco (e.g. cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos pipes, water pipes, hookah and more) are still banned.
  • Vaping, Juul and e-cigarette use is still banned.
  • Marijuana use is still banned.

Why are we 100 percent Smoke and Tobacco-Free?

By eliminating second-hand smoke, vapor and tobacco, the Urbana campus underscores its commitment to providing a healthy living and learning environment for students and a healthy work environment for faculty and staff.

Here are some specific benefits of a 100-percent smoke and tobacco free campus:

  • Protect people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to tobacco, passive (secondhand) smoke, and vapor. Multiple studies affirm that there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke, including outdoor smoke.
  • Create a healthier and cleaner living, learning, and working environment.
  • Create a supportive environment for those who are trying to reduce or quit tobacco use.
  • Protect the environment from tobacco and vape–related litter. Cigarette butts and vape containers are common types of litter. Discarded cigarette butts contain all the carcinogens and nicotine that make tobacco use the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, yet trillions of butts are littered into the environment annually. Cigarette butts take years to decompose, increasing the toxicity of aquatic ecosystems, and potentially leaching into soil and the water supply. Cigarette butts are also dangerous when consumed by wildlife, pets, or young children. Reducing this litter will also beautify our campus and lower clean-up costs.

How is the policy enforced? What happens if I am caught smoking, vaping or using tobacco?

University of Illinois police officers and security guards from the Division of Public Safety issue citations for violations of the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus Policy. Fines are issued as follows:

  • First violation: Written warning
  • Second violation: $25 fine. This fine may be waived by completing a video educational program within 72 hours.
  • Third violation: $50 fine
  • Fourth and subsequent violations: $100 fine per occurrence

This system was set into place in 2015 to comply with the State of Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act.

How can I report someone smoking vaping or using tobacco on campus?

If you observe someone smoking, vaping or using tobacco in a prohibited location, please contact the University of Illinois Police at the non-emergency number, 217-333-8911.  The dispatcher will ask for some basic information about the location of the incident and a description of the person violating the policy.

You may also notify a University of Illinois Police Officer or Security Guard who is in the area where you observe the violation.

How do people know where they can and cannot smoke, vape or use tobacco?

All campus-owned property, both inside and outside is smoke, vape and tobacco-free. You cannot use these substances anywhere on campus property. Signs are posted on campus. But even if you do not see a sign nearby, if you are on campus property you cannot smoke, vape or use any form of tobacco. Our Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus map  identifies the boundaries of the campus.

Are there designated areas on campus where people can smoke, use tobacco or vape?

No. Smoking vaping and tobacco use is prohibited on all campus property. Establishing designated usage areas undermines the policy. The purpose of our policy is to create a health-supporting community. Smoking/vaping/tobacco use zones and perimeter policies have not been found to be effective or enforceable. Shelters are expensive to construct and maintain. Campuses with full smoke and tobacco-free policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than policies that include usage areas.

Does our Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus Policy extend to campus-owned property outside of the main campus?

The policy includes all campus-owned property, not just the main campus. Examples of areas outside the main campus where the smoke and tobacco free policy is in effect are Willard Airport and the Research Park. Many other outlying areas are included. The Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus map is the reliable source for the boundaries of campus property.

Can people smoke, vape or use tobacco in their own vehicles? What about in university vehicles?

Smoking, vaping and tobacco use in private vehicles parked on campus property is banned under the policy. People cannot smoke, vape or use tobacco in their own cars while parked on campus-owned streets or in campus parking lots or garages.

Smoking, vaping and tobacco use in university vehicles has been prohibited for several years, and remains so under the current policy.

Is secondhand smoke and vape really that much of a problem?

Secondhand smoke, also called involuntary smoking or passive smoking, is a mixture of gases and fine particles that includes:

  • Smoke from burning tobacco
  • Smoke that has been exhaled by people smoking
  • More than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic, and about 70 that can cause cancer.

Secondhand tobacco smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Closer to home, an estimated 2,900 Illinois citizens die each year from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of heart disease and/or lung cancer 20 – 30 percent.
  • There is no risk-free level of contact with secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.

The 2006 Surgeon General’s report found that even brief exposures to secondhand smoke may have adverse effects on the heart and respiratory systems and increase the severity of asthma attacks, especially in children.

Research indicates that people inhaling smoke at an outdoor café or other outside venue can breathe in wisps of smoke that are many times more concentrated than normal background air pollution levels.

Secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD and certain allergies, older adults, pregnant women, and children. The campus houses several daycares and schools, as well as hosting a myriad of summer camps.

Secondhand vape or aerosol from e-cigarettes is also health concern. This secondhand aerosol:

  • Contains nicotine, ultrafine (Nano) particles and low levels of toxins that are known to cause cancer. These nanoparticles are much smaller than the particles in tobacco smoke and are present in much higher concentrations. Nanoparticles are more easily and deeply breathed into the lungs of the user and bystanders. Toxic chemicals attached to nanoparticles may have greater adverse health effects than when these toxins are attached to larger tobacco smoke particles.
  • Is made up of a high concentration of ultrafine particles, and the particle concentration is higher than in conventional tobacco cigarette smoke.
  • May exacerbate respiratory ailments like asthma, and constrict arteries which could trigger a heart attack.

Our campus community believes that, although things have improved since 2014, we should further reduce second hand smoke and vape exposure. The following are results from a survey of students conducted in the fall of 2018:

  • 6% of students agreed that colleges have a responsibility as part of their mission to promote healthy behaviors to adopt policies that ensure people have smoke-free air to breathe.
  • 4% of students agreed that colleges have a responsibility to lessen the risk of tobacco addiction by adopting policies that discourage tobacco product use.
  • 0% of respondents were exposed to tobacco smoke while on campus.
  • 6% of exposed respondents indicated secondhand smoke on campus was a concern or annoyance.

Why is vaping banned?

Vaping / e-cigarette use has been banned on our campus since 2014. Vaping is a potent nicotine delivery system. Many people mistakenly believe that the aerosol in e-cigarettes is just water vapor. Research has shown that vape contains similar elements to tobacco smoke, including several toxic and carcinogenic compounds. In addition, nicotine can impede brain development, which continues until age 25.

The e-cigarette industry heavily promotes vaping as a smoking cessation device. Research has not shown this to be a safe or effective cessation method however. They are not approved by the DA as a cessation device, Also, public health agencies such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, World Health Association, American College Health Association, Cancer Action Network, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and many others discourage e-cigarette use for smoking cessation. They recommend using an FDA approved therapy or medication, along with behaviorally-based cessation techniques.

For more information about the dangers of vaping, or about proven effective cessation methods visit the smoke and tobacco-free campus website,, campus cessation fact sheet, or read our vaping fact sheet.

What is the campus doing for students and employees who want to quit using tobacco products? Where do I go if I want to quit?

The campus has a wide array of smoking/tobacco cessation options for students and employees. Students can contact McKinley Health Center for details on cessation options. Campus Wellbeing Services coordinates cessation resources for employees as well as some services for students. For a detailed list of cessation resources go to the Tobacco-Free toolkit or the Campus Cessation Resources fact sheet. The toolkit also lists many cessation resources for community members.

Isn’t smoking, tobacco-use and vaping a personal right?

Smoking, tobacco use and vaping are legal (you must be at least 21 to purchase tobacco products in Illinois). It is not unusual, however for organizations to set up limitations to protect the common good. The university owns campus property, however, and can establish policies that protect the health of all campus members.

Our policy does not prohibit personal behavior and choices; it merely establishes where use can occur. Our policy supports the right of all people on the campus to breathe healthy clean air. We hope that tobacco and vape users will respect our policy out of concern for their fellow campus community members.

What about football games, concerts or other public events?

All events occurring on campus-owned property are covered by the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus policy. This includes but is not limited to athletic events, concerts, theatre, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, weddings, etc. The policy applies to faculty, staff, students and visitors.

What about marijuana smoking?

The smoke-free policy prohibits smoking marijuana on campus property.

I have ideas, questions or concerns. Who should I contact?

To contact us:

Submit your thoughts via the feedback section of the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus website. If you would like an answer, please provide your name and email address. If you prefer to keep your communication anonymous, simply send your comment without identifying yourself.

I am interested in helping with smoke-free efforts on campus. Who should I contact?

Contact Michele Guerra, Director of Campus Wellbeing Services at or (217) 244-2205.

How do I learn more?

Visit our website at

For more information please call (217) 265-9355 or e-mail