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University Smoking Policy

Issued: October, 2005

Latest Revision: July, 2014

The University has adopted the following policy to assure compliance with applicable law and to promote the health and safety of its community.

 

Policy - Smoking Prohibited

Smoking is prohibited in any indoor area, in all University vehicles, and outdoor seating or viewing areas of sports arenas and recreational areas, such as those at Baker Field.  Smoking is also prohibited outdoors within 20 feet of all University buildings (including undergraduate housing).

Without in any way limiting the general rule, smoking is specifically prohibited in the following areas at the University: auditoriums, classrooms, conference rooms, meeting rooms, laboratories and storage areas, employee or student lounges, theaters, clubhouses, elevators, hallways, stairwells, restrooms, undergraduate apartment buildings or residence halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, employee or student medical facilities, rooms or areas containing photocopying or other equipment used by employees or students in common, food markets or other retail stores, restaurants, cafeterias and dining facilities (including the Faculty House), and bars or other places in which alcoholic or other beverages are served.

Notwithstanding the above descriptions of locations where smoking is prohibited or permitted, smoking is prohibited in any area with signage indicating that smoking is prohibited.

Employees at the Medical Center Campus are required to obey campus-specific smoking policies along with New York Presbyterian Hospital applicable to hospital premises.  Violations of the hospital's policies by University employees will be considered violations of this policy.

This policy will also be applied to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Nevis Laboratories unless local laws in those two locations were to require more restrictive practices.

Areas Where Smoking is Permitted

 

A map of Designated Smoking Areas can be found here.

Individual apartments, rooms or suites in University off-campus apartment buildings not considered to be Undergraduate Housing and occupied by graduate students, faculty, or staff are exempt from this policy.

  • Institutional Real Estate policies can be found at:

http://facilities.columbia.edu/housing/

Addressing Questions, Problems or Complaints at the Departmental Level

Enforcement of the policy is the responsibility of all members of the Columbia community. Each department, School, and building manager shares the responsibility for publicizing and enforcing the policy. Questions, problems or complaints concerning smoking and this policy should, as much as possible, be resolved by the appropriate Dean, Vice President, building manager, director or department chairperson (or their delegate).  Any employee having a question or problem of this nature should present it to his/her immediate supervisor.  If the problem is not resolved at that level, the employee should present the matter to the department head, who will resolve the dispute in a manner consistent with this policy.  These individuals or their delegates will have the responsibility in the first instance of enforcing the policy in areas under their control.

No Retaliation

University policy prohibits employer retaliation against employees, or applicants for employment, who exercise, or attempt to exercise, any rights under this policy. Any complaints or grievances claiming retaliation may be addressed through the appropriate existing grievance procedures or the Ombuds office may be consulted.

Overall Responsibility for Following Up on Violations

Human Resources will assist with issues relating to employee and labor relations and with disciplinary action resulting from violations of the policy.  Student violations will be the responsibility of the respective School or College. [See: Reporting Violations below.]

Reporting Violations

Students

Witnessed violations of University policy may be reported to the building manager in or near which the violation takes place or the Dean's office for the school in which the student is enrolled.  Any student who violates University policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with University policy.

Officers of Administration and Support Staff:

Witnessed violations of University policy may be reported to the employee's manager, departmental administrator, building manager, or local human resources officer.  The individual's manager, departmental administrator, building manager, or local human resources officer will be responsible for counseling the employee, in writing, about the requirement that the employee comply with University policy (see attached sample counseling letter).  Any employee who thereafter violates University policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with University policy and/or the applicable collective bargaining agreements (see sample letter to attend an investigatory meeting).

Officers of Instruction, Research or Libraries:

Violations of University policy may be reported to the appropriate Dean, building manager, or to the University Librarian, or Vice President. The Dean, University Librarian, or building manager will be responsible for investigating the matter and counseling the employee, in writing, about the requirement that the employee comply with University policy.  Any employee who thereafter violates University policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Faculty disciplinary procedures.

Related Violation Letters

Cessation Support

According to reports issued by the Surgeon General, smoking presents risks of certain cancers, coronary artery disease, emphysema, gastric ulcers, stroke, and fetal injury. In general, smokers die from a variety of ailments at a rate twice as high as nonsmokers.

For Employees

Smoking cessation programs for employees are supported by Columbia through health insurance benefits and the Employee Assistance Program.  Residents of New York City may also contact 311 to access community-based tobacco cessation programs. Because quitting smoking decreases most risks to health, and because most people who smoke would quit if they could, Columbia urges its employees to take advantage of all available programs.

For Students

Smoking cessation programs for students are offered by Columbia Health (http://health.columbia.edu/services/pcms/tobacco-cessation) on the Morningside campus and Smoke-Free CUMC (http://cumc.columbia.edu/smokeFree/quit.html) on the Medical Center campus.   Residents of New York City may also contact 311 to access community-based tobacco cessation programs. Because quitting smoking decreases most risks to health, and because most people who smoke would quit if they could, Columbia urges its students to take advantage of all available programs.