As UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Steering Committee continues drafting the tobacco-free policy for all Bruins to comment on starting next Thursday, we know some members of community have expressed concerns. We believe a few points should be highlighted for community discussion.
This policy is not just about secondhand-smoke exposure to non-smokers, or cigarette-butt effects on the environment, but the health of all students, faculty and employees, including tobacco users.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death. A tobacco-free environment will also help make it easier for these individuals to quit by reducing the social cues that reinforce nicotine addiction.
The tobacco products included in this policy were specified earlier this year for all University of California campuses by UC President Mark Yudof. Chewing tobacco causes oral cancer and other health problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is actively reviewing whether electronic cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products or as drug-delivery devices.
This policy is designed to ensure that tobacco use does not occur on property owned or fully leased by the university. It does not prohibit use in other areas. This is no different than asking individuals on an airplane to refrain from smoking during a flight.
Associate professor in the department of medicine and co-chair of the UCLA Tobacco-Free Steering Committee