Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is North becoming a tobacco-free campus?

To promote a safe and healthy educational and work environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors, North Seattle College has become tobacco-free.

The Surgeon General of the United States has determined that smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. and that even low-level exposure to tobacco products and cigarette smoke, including exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, is dangerous.

Evidence has shown that the use of smokeless tobacco and nicotine-delivery products, such as electronic cigarettes, can also cause adverse health effects. Moreover, cigarette litter has been shown to be harmful to the environment.

How was the decision made?

Discussions over whether North Seattle College should become a smoke-free campus have occurred since at least 1997. Since then, various committees charged with studying the issue have provided recommendations, and passionate debate has ensued between those who feel smoking is a personal freedom issue versus those who feel smoking is a community health issue.

Non-compliance with designated smoking areas, constant littering, and chewing tobacco spittle all over campus have been an ongoing problem, creating an unpleasant and unhealthy environment on campus.

Following a thorough historical overview of the college’s smoke-free discussions by the Clean Air Task Force and thoughtful dialogue regarding feedback in a college-wide survey in 2014—during which 70 percent of respondents (828 community members) voted in favor of going smoke-free—North’s Executive Team voted unanimously in spring 2015 that North become tobacco- and smoke-free effective fall 2015. North’s Student Administrative Council expressed solid support for the decision.

This decision is in step with what Public Health Seattle and King County recommends and puts North among the more than 1,000 colleges nation-wide that are now tobacco- and smoke-free.

Town hall meetings were held on campus in June 2015 to obtain feedback from students and employees regarding the best way to implement the new charter. The implementation team will serve on a volunteer basis to assess how the initiative is working, with subcommittees to consider appropriate signage, communication of the charter, smoking cessation resources and related topics.

To whom do these rules apply?

To everyone—students, staff, faculty and visitors to campus.

Is tobacco use allowed anywhere on campus

No. The use or sale of tobacco products is prohibited on and within all North Seattle College owned, leased or managed property. This includes all college sidewalks, parking lots, landscaped areas, recreational areas and buildings. This also applies to state-owned vehicles that may be used by members of the North Seattle College community.

Smoking materials must be extinguished prior to entering any North Seattle College property. All tobacco products must be disposed of properly prior to entering college property.

Define North Seattle College property.

North Seattle College is defined as all structures, parking, pathways and property between 92nd St. to 103rd St. and College Way N to I -5.

What constitutes improper disposal?

  • Spitting smokeless tobacco products
  • Littering (i.e. discarding cigarette butts, throwing cigarette butts out of windows, leaving spit containers)
  • Taking any action that creates fire hazards

Can tobacco be marketed/advertised on campus?

No. Advertising or sponsorship promoting the use of tobacco is not permitted on North Seattle College property, at college-sponsored events, or in publications produced by North, with the exception of advertising in a newspaper or magazine that is not produced by North and which is lawfully sold, bought or distributed on campus property.

The distribution of free tobacco products and associated products (sampling) is prohibited on college property.

Do these rules and regulations apply to the OCE&E?

Yes.

What about college-sponsored events held off-campus?

Use or sale of tobacco products is prohibited in all off-campus events sponsored by North Seattle College.

Can I smoke in my car?

Smoking is not permitted in one’s car if it is on campus.

Isn’t there a legal right to smoke?

Legally, North Seattle College has a right to decide whether or not to permit tobacco in its facilities and on its grounds. North will continue to set policies regarding activity on our premises that create the healthiest environment for our students and employees.

What products are included in the ban?

Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco (e.g., hookahs), and nicotine-delivery devices that simulate the use of tobacco (e.g., electronic cigarettes, vaping). Inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted tobacco material is prohibited, as well as use of smokeless or chewing tobacco.

What products are excluded from the ban?

Nicotine-containing products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use of mitigation and treatment or prevention of disease are permitted, including products for cessation therapy, such as gums, patches and lozenges.

What about e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are included in the ban. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine as a vapor that is inhaled by the user. E-cigarettes may contain ingredients known to be toxic to humans. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved devices, and they are banned in public places in King County, Washington. In 2015, the American Lung Association called for FDA oversight of electronic cigarettes, which would require ingredient disclosure, warning labels and youth access restrictions. 

Is marijuana allowed on campus?

No. Even though marijuana use is legal in Washington state, it remains a class one controlled substance under federal law. Since the college receives federal funding, it must comply with federal regulations. In addition, the college’s rule on Other Punishable Acts in the Washington Administrative Code states that students may not commit an act considered a crime under federal law.

Is there a related Seattle Colleges District policy?

The Seattle Colleges District, of which North Seattle College is a part, addresses the usage of illicit drugs and alcohol through its Drug-free Workplace policy. The North Seattle College Tobacco-free Campus charter is complementary to, but does not replace, the Seattle College District Drug-free Workplace policy. This Seattle Colleges District policy can be found here.

Is ceremonial use of tobacco permitted?

In accordance with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, exceptions to the Tobacco-free Campus Charter may be made for Native American cultural activities. All ceremonial-use exceptions must be approved in advance by the president of North Seattle College or a designee of the president of North Seattle College.

What about other regulations?

The North Seattle College Tobacco-free Campus charter is complementary to, but does not replace, existing rules and regulations dealing with the sale and use of tobacco products at the city, county, state, and federal levels.

How will the new charter be communicated?

The charter is posted on the college website with resources for help with quitting. Students, faculty and staff will receive communications about the charter through email and enewsletters. There will be appropriate signage posted near entrances and property perimeters.

How can community members help enforce the charter?

We all have a role to play in creating a healthier community, while always exercising civility and respect. We ask that everyone remind each other that we are a tobacco-free campus. North Seattle College expects smokers to respect the right of fellow community members to breathe smoke-free air. North Seattle College also expects non-smokers who remind violators of the tobacco-free rule to do so with courtesy and respect.

If you are a tobacco user, support the charter by simply moving off the property when using tobacco products. All community members can take an active role in making people aware of the charter by respectfully informing tobacco users that North Seattle College is a tobacco-free institution. If the person refuses to comply, individuals are asked to walk away and contact Campus Security personnel. Provide encouragement to those who choose to quit while continuing to respect their right to choose.

What are the penalties for using tobacco on campus?

Failure to comply with the charter may result in disciplinary or corrective action. Visitors in violation may be asked to leave campus property.

What resources are available to help quit?

North Seattle College recognizes that quitting tobacco use is a personal choice and can be a significant challenge. North is committed to helping students, faculty and staff manage or overcome their tobacco use. Students can find resources listed on the tobacco-free webpages. Employees may reference the employee resources on the site.

Where do I go with further questions?

For questions about the charter, please see the website or contact Stephanie Dykes, executive director for Institutional Effectiveness.

Tobacco-free Campus Contacts

Stephanie Dykes Executive Director, Institutional Effectiveness

 

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