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Tobacco and Smoke-Free Policy - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I smoke?

Although not encouraged, you may smoke in your personal vehicle. In keeping with the intent of these guidelines, we ask that you refrain from smoking on the sidewalks and streets surrounding any SIU School of Medicine property. Littering of sidewalks does not support a professional campus environment and will not be tolerated.

Can I smoke at a leased space or building, since it is a property shared by non-SIU School of Medicine employees?

No. Employees, students, vendors, and others who visit or are employed at all facilities are required to follow the SIU School of Medicine Tobacco-and Smoke-Free Policy and not use tobacco products in that area.

What do I do when I see an employee smoking on SIU School of Medicine property?

As a courtesy, in support of this policy, you are encouraged to approach the individual who is smoking and remind them that SIU School of Medicine is tobacco- and smoke-free. If chronic disregard for the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Policy occurs, the employee’s supervisor should be contacted to appropriate corrective action. You may also report the policy violation to the Office of Human Resources if the supervisor is unknown.

What do I do when I see a visitor smoking on SIU School of Medicine property?

Again, as a courtesy, in support of our tobacco- and smoke-free campus, you are encouraged to approach the individual who is smoking and remind them that our campus is tobacco-and smoke-free. There will be signage and other communication available as well. In the event of chronic disregard of the policy, SIU School of Medicine security should be contacted.

Why is SIU School of Medicine tobacco-and smoke-free?

SIU School of Medicine is committed to assisting the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their healthcare needs through education, patient care, and research. In order to meet these needs, it is imperative that we support an improvement in the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. A tobacco-and smoke-free campus is one method of meeting these objectives. SIU School of Medicine is committed to prevention and wellness as well as education and treatment. We think that by removing tobacco, we are setting a positive example for our employees, patients, visitors and the communities we serve. Said Policy is also necessary in order to comply with the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act, 110 ILCS 64/1 et. seq.

Why are e-cigarettes prohibited?

The Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act prohibits the use of products containing or delivering nicotine intended or expected for human consumption, with limited exception for tobacco use cessation products approved by the FDA. Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine derived from tobacco, and have not been approved by the FDA. While they are not lighted in the combustible way that a traditional tobacco filled cigar or cigarette is, there is a heating mechanism inside that turns liquid nicotine into a vapor to be inhaled. Preliminary analysis on e-cigarettes have found that the cartridges contain diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans, and carcinogens, including nitrosamines.

How is SIU School of Medicine getting the word out to students, employees and visitors about becoming a smoke-free campus?

Communication includes but is not limited to notification of the Policy to students, staff and faculty through email; notification during the student orientation process; notification during new employee orientation; informational meetings, postings, and electronic notifications; campus signage; social media platforms; and media exposure.

What are the harmful effects of smoking?

Here are some facts:

  • Smoking is the number one reason for avoidable illness and death
  • Over 440,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases
  • Smoking costs the U.S. over $150 billion each year in healthcare and other expenses
  • Patients who smoke before surgery have twice the risk of infection of nonsmokers
  • Smoking is a risk factor in heart disease, cancer, stroke and lung disease
  • Smoking slows healing after surgery – A smoker’s broken bones take almost twice as long to heal
  • Smokeless tobacco is associated with cancers of the esophagus, larynx and stomach, and an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases

What if I don’t want to quit using tobacco or smoking?

This policy does not require anyone to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. It prohibits tobacco use and smoking on SIU School of Medicine property. We are committed to:

  • Assist those who wish to quit using tobacco products
  • Educate our communities and the physicians of tomorrow about the importance of prevention and overall well-being
  • Make a clear statement that good health does not include the use of tobacco

How does the smoking cessation program work?

There are several options from which to choose. Many of our employee benefit programs offer our employees assistance to help offset the cost of the programs. Please contact the Employee Benefits Department for information on all options for smoking cessation.