Frequently Asked Questions

Seattle University is a tobacco-free campus. Following are answers to commonly asked questions on the university’s new policy.


Why is Seattle University becoming a tobacco-free campus?

Seattle University is dedicated to the Jesuit mission of educating the whole person and espouses a holistic view of the individual encompasses personal health and wellness. A tobacco-free campus initiative will protect our community from involuntary exposure to passive smoke, promote cessation and create a supportive environment for those interested in quitting tobacco use. Ultimately, this policy will encourage a healthier and more productive learning, living and working environment for all members of the SU community.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States. In the 50 years since the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke has been attributed to more than 20 million premature deaths. Research shows that tobacco use leads to a greater risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes and other chronic illness. There is no question that smoking and oral or smokeless tobacco is linked to increased rates of cancer and cancer-related deaths.

How was the decision made for Seattle University go tobacco-free?

The decision was made after a thorough and deliberate process that was initiated and led by Student Government Seattle University (SGSU) and the Tobacco-Free Campus Exploratory Committee. The process included extensive outreach to campus constituents. Feedback from all members of the university community was invited through surveys, a referendum, focus groups and other meetings and events. Representatives of the committee also consulted with the university’s leadership, Academic Assembly and the Deans’ Council. Each leadership body endorsed the proposal.

What did the surveys and other feedback reveal?

The findings revealed a prevailing sentiment to become a tobacco-free campus in order to promote the health and well-being of the SU community:

  • A majority (59%) of students who voted in a spring 2014 referendum favored a tobacco-free campus. (SGSU Elections, 2014)
  • Almost all (92%) undergraduate students surveyed said they were exposed to second-hand smoke on campus, and more than one in five reported negative health effects. (SGSU SUSS, 2014)
  • A tobacco-free policy was favored by a large majority (70%) of faculty and staff surveyed in spring 2014.
  • A committee of the Student Government of Seattle University recommended implementation of a tobacco-free policy.
  • Faculty representatives in the Academic Assembly voted to endorse a tobacco-free policy.

What percentage of SU’s community members use tobacco?

  • As of January 2015 about 2% of SU students (Undergraduate, Graduate and Law) smoked cigarettes daily which is a continued decline since 2009. Daily smokeless tobacco use is less than 1% (National College Health Assessment, 2015).
  • In May 2014 a survey of faculty and staff indicated about 6% used tobacco.

What safety considerations should I keep in mind when smoking in a public area off campus?

You are in an urban city and may need to adjust your awareness to your surroundings. In general, you will find that the Seattle University campus and surrounding area to be relatively safe, however allowing yourself to be a little street savvy will go a long way toward maintaining your safety. Things to consider:  
  • Is the area well lighted and visible to the general public pedestrian and street traffic? 
  • Am I maintaining an appropriate sense of personal space and boundaries?
  • If I am using a smart phone, am I doing so in a way that allows me to see who approaches me and allows me to maintain control of the device?
  • Am I maintaining control of my personal belongings?
  • Do I have emergency numbers programmed into my phone, so I can call 911 or Campus Public Safety 206-296-5911 if I need them?
  • Do I know where the closest campus emergency phones are located, should I need to use one?
As always, if a situation occurs that makes you feel unsafe, give yourself permission to leave and seek assistance. In the unlikely event that you are confronted by someone who is threatening shout and make a “scene” to draw attention to yourself as you seek the safety of a campus building or local business. If someone threatens you with physical harm for your property, you may be better off giving them your property than getting hurt. Your property can always be replaced. Report all crimes to Campus Public Safety or 911. Additional crime prevention information can be found at

Defining tobacco products

What products are subject to SU’s tobacco-free policy?

The tobacco-free policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco (e.g. hookahs) and nicotine delivery devices that simulate the use of tobacco (e.g. electronic cigarettes, vaping).

Products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the uses of mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease are permitted under this policy.

Why are e-cigarettes included in this policy?

This policy shift is primarily about health and E-cigarettes are unregulated and have not been fully studied. It is unclear how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use.


In what locations does the policy apply?

The use and sale of tobacco products is prohibited on and within all Seattle University owned, leased and managed property, and at university-sponsored off-campus events. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

How will SU’s tobacco-free policy be enforced?

A community enforcement model will be followed as all members of the SU community are responsible for ensuring compliance with the university’s tobacco-free policy. This is similar to our current policy.


What should I do if I notice someone using tobacco on campus? 

Members of the Seattle University community are invited to assist with the implementation of this policy by respectfully informing tobacco users of this change. One might say “Pardon me, I’m not sure if you’re aware but Seattle U has recently gone tobacco free”

The task force will also be providing community members with printed materials with policy information and extinguishing areas that can be given to someone using tobacco. Our hope is that we are respectful and caring toward one another in each of these interactions.

How do I report repeated violations?

First and foremost, please provide a tobacco user with the courtesy of a personal conversation, allowing them to move to a place where tobacco use is permitted.

  • Repeated violations by faculty or staff can be reported HERE > Employee and Student Matters > Employee Misconduct.
  • Students repeatedly violating this policy can be reported HERE. These reports are sent to Integrity Formation.
What are the penalties for using tobacco products on campus?


Initially we’re focused on informing people of this new policy and redirecting tobacco users to locations where use is permitted. Other tobacco free campuses have found this approach successful and we have every reason to expect people will respect this new policy.

The policy does also allow for disciplinary or corrective action in the case of repeated violations.

How will SU’s new policy be communicated to the campus community and to visitors?

Signage will be installed throughout campus and at the main entryways to campus. Efforts are also being made to proactively communicate SU’s new policy to visitors. For instance, protocols are in place to inform third-party entities coming onto campus to deliver goods and services, as well as reserve university facilities for events. In addition, the university is reaching out to partner neighborhood associations to inform them of the new policy.


Will the university provide resources and support for community members seeking to quit smoking or using other tobacco products?

Yes, the university currently offers a variety of opportunities for cessation and is also exploring other ways to support community members in their efforts to stop using tobacco. Current resources include:

  • Quit Kits available in Wellness and Health Promotion
  • Medication consultation at Student Health Center
  • Quit conversation with a peer Health and Wellness Crew Member
Faculty and Staff
  • Quit Kits available

What do the Quit Kits include and where can I get one?

Quit kits are free and can be picked up in Wellness and Health Promotion (Student Center 380). Quit kits include:

  • A business card and phone call to the state quit line.
  • Gum, mints, toothpicks, etc. to help the oral aspect of smoking
  • Rubber bands to keep your hands busy when you would be smoking
  • Stress ball to relieve the momentary stresses that lead us to smoke
  • Informational materials