Carnegie Mellon University

Smoke-less Campus Policy

POLICY TITLE: Carnegie Mellon University Smoke-less Campus Policy
DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy was originally issued to campus on July 8, 1988 as Organization Announcement #314. It was then updated and approved by the President's Council on November 10, 2008 (effective January 1, 2009) as the Carnegie Mellon Smoking Policy. On December 13, 2016 the policy was approved as the Carnegie Mellon University Smoke-Less Campus Policy (effective August 25, 2017). Administrative updates were made February 11, 2020.


Office of the Vice President for Operations. Questions on policy content should be directed to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, 412-268-8182.


The smoking policy restricts smoking in most areas but provides procedures for designating and posting smoking areas.


Policy Rationale

The university is committed to promoting a safe, healthy working and learning environment. This commitment extends to encouraging and supporting the reduction of significant health risks to members of the community. Smoking of tobacco products is one such risk. This Policy is intended not only to relieve community members from negative effects of tobacco smoking by others, but also to promote and assist smoking cessation by existing users and discourage new addictions.

Policies that strictly regulate smoking have been demonstrated to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, tobacco-related death and disease, and attendant healthcare costs. In addition, several systematic reviews of studies have demonstrated effectiveness of such policies in reducing the prevalence of tobacco use, increasing the number of tobacco users who quit, and reducing the initiation of tobacco use among young people. These positive effects have led leading national health organizations to advocate a smoke-free policy intervention. Benchmarking suggests that a “smoke-less” approach, an alternative to prohibition that honors our campus geography and is grounded in sustained and visible efforts to reduce smoking and promote cessation, can also have positive effects.

The effects of exposure to smoke from tobacco were documented in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Reports. Further research is needed to determine the public health risks and benefits of e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine products. Although harmful consequences of e-cigarette vapor have not been demonstrated to the standards used for conventional cigarettes, the practice of using these products may have social impact. In addition, some state and local governments, including Allegheny County, have passed laws regulating the use of e-cigarettes. Therefore, this Policy addresses both the smoking of tobacco products and the use of e-cigarettes. As evidence becomes more conclusive, this Policy may be amended to further address novel nicotine products.

Policy Statement

Smoking of tobacco products is prohibited in all university buildings and facilities owned, leased, or operated by Carnegie Mellon University, including campus vehicles. Smoking of tobacco products is also prohibited on all grounds and outside areas except for limited designated outdoor areas where the negative effects of second-hand exposure is deemed sufficiently low. As such, major campus thoroughfares, gathering spaces and entrances to buildings are not designated areas. The number, nature and location of designated areas was determined by an oversight committee convened by the university’s Environmental Health & Safety department and comprised of representatives from Faculty Senate, Graduate Student Assembly, Staff Council and Student Senate.

Use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers is prohibited inside all university buildings and inside all property owned, leased or operated by Carnegie Mellon University, but is not prohibited outside on campus grounds as of the adoption of this Policy.

For the purpose of this Policy, a tobacco product is defined as any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption by smoking. Examples of tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, and pipe tobacco.

For the purpose of this Policy, an e-cigarette is defined as any electronic oral device, such as one composed of a heating element, battery or electronic circuit, which provides a vapor of nicotine or any other substances and the use or inhalation of which simulates smoking. The term shall include any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar or e-pipe or under any other product name or descriptor.

This Policy does not apply to the use of tobacco products, e-cigarettes or vaporizers for official academic research so long as such use of these products complies with all applicable local, state, and federal laws.