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What Is Tobacco Free?

Act 12

By Wisconsin Act 12 from 2009, UW Oshkosh and all other public places (including businesses) already prohibit indoor smoking.  In addition, smokers are to move at least 25 feet away from any campus building perimeter (not just the entrance) before lighting up (this is explicit language in the official Handbooks for Students, Faculty, & Academic Staff; since Classified Staff no longer have a separate collective bargaining agreement, they reasonably fall under the same rules as all other campus citizens). In addition, outdoor smoking is prohibited completely in areas of building air intake (e.g. near Clow and Halsey).

Unfortunately, Act 12 does not eliminate the considerable health dangers of secondhand smoke, nor does it address the considerable health dangers of smokeless tobacco.  These gaps (and other concerns) have led businesses and campuses to enact additional institution-specific restrictions on tobacco.



Smokefree policies prohibit indoor and outdoor smoking anywhere on a property. Property boundaries are delineated in the policy. Language in Act 12 already makes two kinds of facilities SmokeFree: daycare facilities when children are present, and Level 1 Juvenile Detention facilities.


Tobaccofree policies prohibit indoor and outdoor use of any tobacco product anywhere on a property. Property boundaries are delineated in the policy. "Any tobacco product" includes smoking and smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes.


Nicotinefree policies prohibit all nicotine use on AND off the property, i.e. employees of the affected organization may not use a nicotine-containing product at all, even on their own time, unless it is an FDA-approved "quit device". In recent years, a surprising number of businesses have enacted some form of NicotineFree hiring policy (estimated at 6,000 or more).

National Trends

Each of the last two years, more and more American colleges and universities have gone TobaccoFree, and many are considering it.  This is a national trend that helps prepare college students to compete nationally in the labor market realities of today and tomorrow, not yesterday.

  • In Wisconsin, UW Stout, several Technical Colleges, and private campuses have led the way.  UW River Falls and the Fox Valley Technical College System go TobaccoFree on July 1, 2013.
  • Campuses in the top tobacco-producing states in the nation have gone TFC, as have campuses in fiercely libertarian states like Montana.
  • Campuses 4-5 times the size of UW Oshkosh have gone TFC, as have much smaller campuses.

Our Committee is considering whether a TobaccoFree policy would be in the best interests of the UW Oshkosh community.

We are not considering a NicotineFree policy.




by Linn, Molly M last modified Feb 25, 2013 02:32 PM