Tobacco-Free Policy


Because Whittier College is committed to providing a safe and healthy community in which to live, learn, work and play for the students, faculty, staff and guests on campus, it hereby adopts a tobacco-free policy, effective September 2, 2018.

Report tobacco use

Section 1. Findings and Intent

Given the research-based evidence noted as Findings and Intent, in Amendment A, Whittier College finds and declares that the purposes of this policy are (1) to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking and the use of marijuana and tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, on Whittier College campus; (2) to guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and (3) to encourage a healthy,  productive environment in which to live, learn, work and play for all members of our campus community.

Section 2. Definitions: For the sake of clarity in this policy, the following definitions are provided:

A. “Electronic Smoking Device” means any product containing or delivering nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person in any manner for the purpose of inhaling vapor or aerosol from the product. The term includes any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah, or vape pen, or under any other product name or descriptor. 

B. “Hookah” means a water pipe and any associated products and devices which are used to produce fumes, smoke, and/or vapor from the burning of material including, but not limited to, tobacco, shisha, or other plant matter. 

C. “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, including hookahs and marijuana, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form. “Smoking” also includes the use of an electronic smoking device which creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing prohibiting smoking in this policy. 

D. “Tobacco Product” means any substance containing tobacco leaf, including but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, bidis, blunts, clove cigarettes, or any other preparation of tobacco; and any product or formulation of matter containing biologically active amounts of nicotine that is manufactured, sold, offered for sale, or otherwise distributed with the expectation that the product or matter will be introduced into the human body by inhalation; but does not include any cessation product specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in treating nicotine or tobacco dependence.

Section 3. Smoking and Tobacco Use Prohibited on Whittier College Campus.

In light of the research-based evidence of the harm created by tobacco use, Whittier College campus shall be entirely tobacco and smoke-free.

The Tobacco-Free Policy applies to all Whittier College facilities, property, and vehicles, owned or leased, regardless of location. Smoking and the use of tobacco products shall not be permitted in any enclosed place, including, but not limited to, all offices, classrooms, hallways, waiting rooms, restrooms, meeting rooms, community areas, performance venues and private residential space within Whittier College housing. Smoking and the use of tobacco products shall also be prohibited outdoors on all Whittier College campus property, including, but not limited to, parking lots, paths, fields, sports/recreational areas, and stadiums, as well as in all personal vehicles while on campus. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and other persons on campus, regardless of the purpose for their visit.

Section 4. Promotion and Sale of Tobacco Products Prohibited on Whittier College Campus.

In further recognition of the incompatibility of Whittier College’s educational mission and the promotion of tobacco products:

No tobacco-related advertising or sponsorship shall be permitted on Whittier College property, at Whittier College-sponsored events, or in publications produced by Whittier College, with the exception of advertising in a newspaper or magazine that is not produced by the Whittier College and which is lawfully sold, bought, or distributed on Whittier College property. For the purposes of this policy, "tobacco related" applies to the use of a tobacco brand or corporate name, trademark, logo, symbol, or motto, selling message, recognizable pattern or colors, or any other indicia of product identical to or similar to, or identifiable with, those used for any brand of tobacco products or company which manufactures tobacco products.

No tobacco products or paraphernalia shall be sold or distributed as samples on Whittier College grounds, either in vending machines, the Campus Center/Spot or any area on campus.

Section 5. Dissemination of Policy; Signage

Copies of this policy shall be made available to all faculty and staff and shall be included with information given to all admitted students. Information about the policy and how to comply with it shall also be posted on the Whittier College website. Announcements concerning the policy and any changes to it shall be printed in the campus newspaper and posted on the Whittier College website to ensure that everyone fully understands the policy. Signs prohibiting smoking and the use of tobacco products shall be posted at points of entry to the Whittier College campus and at Whittier College building entrances. No ashtrays shall be provided at any location on campus.

Section 6. Transition Period

This policy has been announced nearly one year in advance of implementation which is September 2, 2018, in order to give smokers time to adapt to its restrictions and to facilitate a smooth transition to a tobacco-free environment. On-site smoking cessation programs shall be made available to assist and encourage individuals who wish to quit smoking. Questions and problems regarding this policy should be handled through existing departmental administrative channels and administrative procedures.

Section 7. Enforcement of Policy; Compliance and Penalties

The goal of the committee is to encourage community member compliance to this policy. Each member of the Whittier College community will be informed of the policy (as noted above); community members will be encouraged to contribute to a healthy environment in which to live, learn, work and play by supporting the policy and educating others. 

Policy violations will be treated in a manner that is congruent with offenses to the Student Code of Conduct (students) and the Employee Manual (staff/faculty). Opportunities for smokers to learn about the policy change and adapt their behavior may be granted in the form of courtesy cards, which may be distributed by any member of the community. This policy may be enforced by all members of the campus community, including the taskforce, peer-educated POET Interns and/or volunteers and by Campus Safety officers. 

Violations may be reported using the online complaint form or by writing/emailing a complaint to Complaints should be filed within 10 days of observing a potential violation in order to be facilitated in a timely manner. Complaints will also be filed in the form of reports by Campus Safety.


Regarding student conduct, violations will be addressed with a hierarchy of sanctions congruent with the Student Code of Conduct, as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Students Office, a Student Conduct Administrator or designee. Sanctions may include reflective or restorative sanctions, educational programming, fines, or others as noted in the Student Code of Conduct and Guide to Rights and Responsibilities.


Human Resources will address violations through the progressive discipline model, which will include a formal verbal warning, educational programming, written reprimand, suspension without pay and any fines, restitution or other disciplinary action deemed appropriate for repeated violations, up to and including possible termination of employment.

Visitors and Vendors: Upon violation, a verbal request to cease the use of tobacco may be made by any member of the campus community, especially direct supervisors who oversee contracts. In cases where visitors or vendors fail to comply, Campus Safety will be called to make and document a request to cease use of tobacco products. Visitors that do not comply with Campus Safety will be issued a trespass admonishment and escorted
off of Whittier College Property. 

This Policy shall be effective on September 2, 2018.

Findings and Intent

The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, has concluded that (1) secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke; (2) children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks, and that smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children; (3) exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer; (4) there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; (5) establishing smoke free workplaces is the only effective way to ensure that secondhand smoke exposure does not occur in the workplace, because ventilation and other air cleaning technologies cannot completely control for exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke; and (6) evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke free policies and laws do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.) According to the 2010 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease, even occasional exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful and low levels of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke lead to a rapid and sharp increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and stroke. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010.) According to the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress, secondhand smoke exposure causes stroke in nonsmokers. The report also found that since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from diseases caused by tobacco smoke. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.) Numerous studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, and that breathing secondhand smoke (also known as environmental tobacco smoke) is a cause of disease in healthy non-smokers, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute determined in 1999 (Monograph #10) that secondhand smoke is responsible for the early deaths of approximately 53,000 Americans annually. (National Cancer Institute (NCI), "Health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke: the report of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 10," Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (NCI), August 1999.)

Based on a finding by the California Environmental Protection Agency in 2005, the California Air Resources Board has determined that secondhand smoke is a toxic air contaminant, finding that exposure to secondhand smoke has serious health effects, including low birth-weight babies; sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); increased respiratory infections in children; asthma in children and adults; lung cancer, sinus cancer, and breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women; heart disease; and death. (California Air Resources Board (ARB), “Appendix II Findings of the Scientific Review Panel: Findings of the Scientific Review Panel on Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant as adopted at the Panel’s June 24, 2005 Meeting," California Air Resources Board (ARB), September 12, 2005.)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the risk of acute myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease associated with exposure to tobacco smoke is non-linear at low doses, increasing rapidly with relatively small doses such as those received from secondhand smoke or actively smoking one or two cigarettes a day, and has warned that all patients at increased risk of coronary heart disease or with known coronary artery disease should avoid all indoor environments that permit smoking. (Pechacek, Terry F.; Babb, Stephen, “Commentary: How acute and reversible are the cardiovascular risks of secondhand smoke?” British Medical Journal 328: 980-983, April 24,2004.)

Unregulated high-tech smoking devices, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” closely resemble and purposefully mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The FDA’s testing also suggested that “quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent.” ([n.a.], “Summary of results: laboratory analysis of electronic cigarettes conducted by FDA,” Food and Drug Administration (FDA), July 22, 2009.) According to a more recent study, electronic cigarette emissions are made up of a high concentration of ultrafine particles, and the particle concentration is higher than in conventional tobacco cigarette smoke. (Fuoco, F.C.; Buonanno, G.; Stabile, L.; Vigo, P., “Influential parameters on particle concentration and size distribution in the mainstream of e-cigarettes,” Environmental Pollution 184: 523-529, January 2014.) Electronic cigarettes produce an aerosol or vapor of undetermined and potentially harmful substances, which may appear similar to the smoke emitted by traditional tobacco products. Their use in workplaces and public places where smoking of traditional tobacco products is prohibited creates concern and confusion and leads to difficulties in enforcing the smoking prohibitions.

According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, more than 2,100 colleges and universities in the United States have adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies and this number is rising steadily. The American College Health Association “encourages colleges and universities to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100% indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.” The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI), later administered by the American Cancer Society, in partnership with CVS Health, as the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), to promote and support the adoption and implementation of tobacco-free policies at universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning across the United States.

The University of California system implemented a tobacco-free policy in January of 2014 for all campuses, including prohibiting the sale and advertising of tobacco products. The California State University system became smoke and tobacco free on September 1, 2017. Many California Community Colleges are also smoke or tobacco-free.