Live Smoke Free -- Effective July 2020, Duke University will be a smoke-free campus.

Smoke-Free Campus

As part of our commitment to the Healthy Duke initiative and to creating a healthy living and working environment, Duke is adopting a new policy to become smoke-free on all property and grounds owned and leased by Duke University beginning July 1, 2020.

The policy will prohibit the use of combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and hookahs, but it will not apply to non-combustible forms of tobacco such as e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or therapeutic products containing nicotine. This decision was made after considerable study and engagement with student groups, faculty, and staff. As part of this effort, Duke Stores will also discontinue the sale of cigarettes by July 1, 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to smoke in designated areas on Duke property?

When the smoke-free policy goes into effect on July 1, 2020, smoking will not be allowed on any property or grounds that is owned or leased by Duke University.

Who does this policy apply to?

This policy applies to all students, staff, faculty, contractors, visitors, volunteers, and vendors on property owned or leased by Duke University.

Can I use e-cigarettes or other forms of non-combustible tobacco?

Yes. The Smoke-Free policy applies to all forms of combustible tobacco including cigarettes, hookah, cigars, cigarillos but does not apply to non-combustible forms of tobacco, such as e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or therapeutic products containing nicotine. E-cigarettes have been shown to help smokers quit and are currently the most common method smokers use when they try to quit smoking. While e-cigarettes contain nicotine, carcinogens and other toxins, they contain only a small portion of the carcinogens and toxins found in tobacco smoke. Allowing for e-cigarettes is considered important in order to provide an avenue for individuals who are unable to quit smoking to continue working or studying at Duke without being in violation of the smoke-free policy.

Isn’t smoking tobacco a legal right?

While tobacco is a legal product for adult use, state law allows that the university may establish rules regarding tobacco use on its property.

What about smokers who don’t want to quit?

The smoke-free policy does not require that tobacco users quit; it only requires that smokers do not smoke on campus. Nicotine is addictive and people with nicotine addiction often require treatment before they are able to stop using tobacco. New treatments being made available to our community are very effective, though ultimately some smokers may not quit or may not choose to quit. Nicotine replacement products such as the nicotine patch, gum, or lozenge are encouraged for use on campus as a substitute for smoking. People who smoke will also be allowed to use e-cigarettes on campus to avoid being in violation of the policy.

What will happen if I smoke on campus?

After the policy goes into effect on July 1, 2020, those found smoking will be referred for tobacco use treatment. Those who continue to smoke on Duke University property will enter into remediation through procedures established for any policy violation.

Does this policy replace the Tobacco Free Policy introduced in 2007 by Duke Health?

No. This policy supplements the Tobacco-Free Policy implemented by Duke Health in 2007. This policy will pertain to all Duke University buildings and grounds not covered by the Duke Health tobacco use policy.

Why does the policy not go into effect for two years?

Duke recognizes that nicotine dependence is an addiction, and medical and behavioral treatment is often required to overcome nicotine dependence. The policy is designed to encourage people who smoke within the Duke community to seek and engage treatment before the policy goes into effect. During the two years leading up to the policy, (effective date July 1, 2020), Duke will continue outreach to those in our community to access tobacco dependence treatment.

What on-campus resources are available to those who are interested in quitting?

The Duke Smoking Cessation Program will lead the smoke-free initiative and will partner with Student Health and Employee Occupational Health & Wellness to provide robust, evidence-based treatment to support those who want to quit smoking.

For benefit-eligible Duke faculty or staff, discounted treatment is available using prescribed Chantix or Buproprion or over the counter nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gum or lozenge) to faculty or staff using a Duke health plan (Duke Basic, Duke Select, Blue Care and Duke Options) and their adult dependents on that plan.

Duke students covered by their health plan can make medical appointment through Student Health Services. Nicotine replacement therapy and other treatments that are prescribed can be obtained through the pharmacy with the appropriate insurance co-pay.

More information about specific tobacco treatment resources will be available soon.

Has this policy considered those who are predisposed to smoking at higher rates?

It is well established that certain population groups smoke at higher rates. Included among these are individuals with a genetic predisposition to nicotine dependence, a history of tobacco use as part of religious or cultural norms, a psychiatric condition that creates a predisposition for nicotine use, or limited access to quality treatment services.  Consideration of these groups is of the highest importance. This initiative began with outreach to these groups within our community, and guidance and insight provided from these groups have helped shaped our policy approach.

How will this impact people on the Duke campus who are not students, faculty or staff?  

This policy will be enforced for all people on Duke’s campus.  This will include alumni, contractors, those who attend sporting events or cultural events, and families or friends who visit. To make the policy clear to these individuals, multiple forms of communication will be provided including general postings at events, signage, email, web and paper-based information.

Will this policy be communicated to incoming students?

Incoming freshman will be made aware of this policy transition through existing admissions materials. Because the policy will be rolled out over a two-year time period, there will be ample time to notify incoming students and their families.