Tobacco-Free Policy FAQs

What does the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy Prohibit?
The Tobacco-Free Campus Policy prohibits the use, sale, advertising and sampling of all tobacco products on the UH Main Campus and the UH Energy Research Park except in areas temporarily designated by UH as tobacco-use areas.

When does the policy become effective?
June 1, 2013.  The policy is applicable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What areas are included in the UH Tobacco-Free Campus Policy?
The policy applies to university buildings and on university grounds, including parking areas, sidewalks, walkways, university-affiliated parking facilities and university-owned buildings, except in the temporary designated tobacco use areas. 

What is considered university property in this policy?
Property located within the State of Texas that is owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by the university. This includes but is not limited to all buildings, structures, vehicles, sidewalks, parking lots, walkways and attached parking structures owned or controlled by the university.

To whom does the policy apply?
The policy applies to all employees, students, university affiliates, contractors and visitors.

How long will be the tobacco-use areas be available?
The designated tobacco-use areas will be available during a phase-in period of not less than 12 months from the policy’s effective date.

Will the tobacco-use areas be extended after that time?
The UH Tobacco Task Force (TTF) will review annually whether any or all of the designated tobacco-use areas will continue to exist. 

What tobacco products are included in the policy?
All forms of tobacco, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookahs), bidis, kreteks, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco and any non-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved nicotine delivery device.

What is the reason to implement the policy at UH?
To reduce health risks for UH students, faculty, staff and visitors while respecting the rights of individuals and to ensure UH compliance with a new state rule that requires certification of a tobacco-free workplace for entities receiving funds from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

Is anyone required to quit smoking?
UH is not requiring anyone to quit using tobacco products, but UH does expect all individuals on university property to adhere to the policy.

How will tobacco-use areas be marked?
Approved tobacco-use areas will be designated with a sign and a receptacle for tobacco-related waste will be located near the sign. Littering the campus with the remains of tobacco products or any other waste product is otherwise prohibited.

Besides the designated tobacco-use area, will tobacco use be allowed in other instances?
The exceptions to the policy are:

  • Sponsored research involving tobacco or tobacco products, provided that the university employee obtains the prior approval of the Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer, and a waiver is requested and granted in accordance with sponsored research requirements, if any.
  • By artists or actors who are participating in university-authorized performances that require smoking as part of the artistic production.
  • For educational or clinical purposes with prior approval of the dean or director responsible for the facility of the Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer, and in the case of smoking, the UH Department of Public Safety Fire Marshal.


How will this policy be enforced?
All members of the university community are responsible for adherence to the tobacco-free campus policy. University community members are empowered to respectfully inform others about the policy.

What if someone is seen using tobacco on University property outside of a designated tobacco use area?
An individual may inform a tobacco user of the tobacco-free policy and request that he/she comply.

Are there policy violation reporting procedures?
The Tobacco Task Force (TTF) web site will provide a portal for individuals to report violations of the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy. Policy enforcement is limited to a standardized e-mail message containing a policy reminder and information about available tobacco cessation services. This e-mail message will be sent to individuals who are reported via the TTF website portal for violation of the campus tobacco policy.

Will violations be reviewed?
The TTF Oversight Committee will review the number of violations reported via the TTF web site portal on an annual basis to study the effectiveness of the current tobacco-free program.

How will people be notified of the policy?
Current and prospective students and employees will be notified through communication services available on university web sites, including the TTF web site. Notification of this policy also will be made during admission and enrollment processes for students and/or during New Hire Orientation for faculty and staff.

How will be people attending events on the UH campus be notified?
Public event organizers on campus are responsible for communicating the policy to attendees. Organizers and attendees at university public events (such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social events, cultural events and sporting events) are required to follow the Tobacco-Free Campus policy.