History and Policy

In recognition of the health risks of tobacco, the University of Michigan is tobacco-free. The Tobacco-Free University Premises policy (SPG 601.04) was enacted Nov. 17, 2022.

This is an ongoing effort to create a healthy environment for all members of the community. It continues a path set in 1987 when the university prohibited smoking in buildings (except some residence halls) and all university vehicles. This ban extended to the grounds on all three U-M campuses with the adoption of the smoke-free policy on July 1, 2011.

U-M Health has been smoke-free since 1998, and the Residence Halls Association, a student representative organization, eliminated smoking from all residence halls in 2003.

In 2016, Michigan Medicine adopted a tobacco-free policy by including a prohibition on all tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

Tobacco use in cultural ceremonies, such as smudging, continues to be permitted under the updated policy. Smudging is a sacred, centuries-old practice used by Indigenous/Native American people that involves the burning of herbs such as sage, sweet grass and tobacco. Those planning an activity involving smudging should consult U-M’s Smudging Safety Policy in advance.

Health Information

Smoking has long been known to be a primary cause of lung cancer, and the list of other diseases caused by smoking includes certain aortic aneurysms, myeloid leukemia, cataracts, cervical cancer, kidney and pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis and stomach cancer.  The Surgeon General’s 2014 report, The Health Consequences of Smoking-50 Years of Progress, warned that no level of smoke is safe.

As of Nov. 17, 2022, prohibited tobacco products include lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other lighted smoking devices as well as electronic nicotine delivery systems (including vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), e-cigars, e-pipes and other battery powered devices used to smoke or vape.  Non-combustible tobacco products such as chew, snuff, snus, and hookah are also not allowed. 

The policy allows exceptions for research and cultural functions with appropriate approval.

Sharing What We’ve Learned

The University of Michigan is considered a leader among colleges and universities in adoption of this policy. Since it went smoke-free in 2011 hundreds of others across the country have established similar policies, and many have looked to us for help with how to get started.

We often get requests to share our plan and welcome other universities to use any of the materials found on this site.  A detailed report of the implementation process can be downloaded here: UM Smoke-Free Implementation Report. For other resources, including our communication plan, charge to committees and other materials and documents, please email us at tobaccofreeuniversity@umich.edu.