A new policy taking effect this summer will make Boston College a tobacco- and smoke-free environment, the University announced today.

Effective August 1, smoking, vaping, or using any tobacco or plant product will be prohibited on all Boston College campuses, including buildings, facilities, grounds, and any other property. The ban encompasses indoor and outdoor spaces, private offices, academic and administrative buildings, all areas of residence halls, athletic venues, dining facilities, and vehicles owned or used by the University.

The purpose of this policy is to provide reasonable protection of the health of all members of the Boston College community from the effects of all forms of smoking and tobacco use.

The policy reflects Boston College’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy work, learning, and community environment.

“Tobacco use is a major cause of preventable disease and death,” reads the introduction to the policy. “Smoking, tobacco use, and exposure to second-hand smoke have been found to cause heart disease, cancer, asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. Electronic devices, more commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, pose health risks and contain detectable levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals. The purpose of this policy is to provide reasonable protection of the health of all members of the Boston College community from the effects of all forms of smoking and tobacco use.”

The new policy states that “it is the responsibility of all faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and visitors to observe and enforce the smoking policy while on Boston College property. In implementing and enforcing this policy, common courtesy and consideration toward others should be exercised.”

Undergraduate and graduate students who disobey the no-smoking policy will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct; faculty and staff violations will be dealt with in accordance with procedures outlined in the faculty and employee handbooks.

BC employees can obtain help for smoking cessation through the University Faculty/Staff Assistance Program, while students can turn to University Health Services and the Office of Health Promotion for aid, the policy notes; in addition, the BC Healthy You website provides a list of smoking cessation resources, including those supported by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care insurance plans.

David Trainor

Vice President for Human Resources David Trainor

Vice President for Human Resources Trainor said the impetus for the policy grew out of periodic discussions during the past few years that, among other points, raised the question as to why the University invested so much in the health and well-being of its employees and students yet permitted smoking and tobacco use on campus. More recent discussions that included University President William P. Leahy, S.J., BC senior administrators, and others in the University community yielded a consensus for moving forward at this time, he said.

 “At every university where I have worked, going back at least 20 years, the campus was smoke- and/or tobacco-free,” said Trainor. “When we reviewed survey data from colleges and universities in the greater Boston area, we found that virtually all were smoke- and/or tobacco-free. So it made sense for us to implement a similar policy.

“Boston College, from a health perspective, has a strong profile,” he added. “The information available to us suggested the community has a relatively small segment who still smoke. With our smoking cessation resources and commitment to our students, faculty, and staff we felt comfortable moving forward.”

VP for Student Affairs Joy Moore

Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore

Added Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore, “Fewer and fewer people are smoking in general; the health benefits of not smoking are widely known and understood; and the dangers of second-hand smoke have been proved. So, with all of these factors in play, it seemed like the right time to officially establish BC as a smoke-free campus.”

Trainor and Moore said they recognize the difficulty smokers and tobacco users often face in quitting, and urged them to seek assistance through the University’s resources.

“BC is here to help in any way we can,” said Trainor. “The thing that is most admirable, and in some ways striking, about BC is our commitment to each other. Our health and well-being plans are geared to be of assistance to those who wish to quit smoking. We have resources through the health plan and Healthy You to support faculty and staff, and programs for students through Health Services, if they wish to stop smoking or using tobacco.”  

Moore added, “BC is very supportive in helping employees and students change unhealthy habits. There are educational programs, counseling services, smoking-cessation therapies, and more that employees and students can receive referrals to participate in.”

University Communications  | July 2020