USC goes smoke-free

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The University of Southern California announced Jan. 10 its campuses and facilities, indoor and outdoor, are now smoke-free.

The revised policy, which concerns lighted cigarettes, cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes, hookah or other lit products, and includes the use of any substance including tobacco, cloves or marijuana, came at the request of the academic senate, staff assembly, undergraduate student government and and graduate student government.

“The policy revision aligns with the university’s commitment to promoting a healthy, safe and comfortable environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors, in light of well-established documentation of smoking as the leading cause of preventable death and illness, and of the danger of secondhand smoke,” said a memo to the USC community issued by Michael Quick, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Todd Dickey, senior vice president for administration.

“I’m delighted to see that USC has taken this important step towards improving the health of its students,” said Jonathan Samet, Flora L. Thornton Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “I congratulate the school’s leadership, at all levels, for moving forward and joining the many universities that have gone smoke-free.”

The policy, available to read at, outlines the following:

Smoking is now prohibited in all indoor and outdoor facilities on university owned and leased property with no exception, including within vehicles parked on those properties. This includes all university owned and leased housing, dining, hotel, retail, athletic and performance facilities and all teaching, research, clinical and office space. In addition to university owned and operated student housing facilities, this policy also applies to any property occupied by any fraternity or sorority officially recognized by the university.


For purposes of this policy, smoking is defined as inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying or possessing any lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, electronic cigarette, hookah or other lit product and including the use of any substance, including but not limited to tobacco, cloves or marijuana.


Refusal by faculty, staff or students to comply with this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary action. Visitors who refuse to comply will be asked to leave and could be subject to arrest for trespassing should they persist.

Previously, USC policy had designated smoke-free locations, which included enclosed buildings, certain outdoor dining areas, vehicles, indoor event spaces and portions of the health sciences campus—all denoted by “smoking prohibited” or “no smoking” signs. Additionally, administrative and academic units were allowed to identify outdoor spaces as smoking areas. The new policy makes no allowances according to location—all USC owned and leased facilities are now entirely smoke-free.

Resources are available to faculty, staff or students who wish to quit smoking:

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