University Administrative Policies


UNM_Policy_Office-L communicates important policy announcements (such as policy approvals, revisions, or campus review-and-comment periods).

UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-2069

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 2250: Transition to a Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus

Date Originally Issued: 06-09-1997
Revised: 02-01-2007, 08-01-2007, 08-01-2009, 05-02-2016

NOTE: Smoking and the use of tobacco products are prohibited at the University of New Mexico and its branches, except in a small number of outdoor designated smoking areas. Most of these designated smoking areas were phased out for Fall Semester 2017. FOR MAPS OF THE CURRENT DESIGNATED SMOKING AREAS, click here for the Albuquerque campus map (which includes the Health Sciences Center and University Hospital); here for the Valencia campus map; and here for the Gallup campus map. (The two other branches do not have designated smoking areas.)

Authorized by RPM 3.1 ("Responsibilities of the President")

Process Owners: University President and Program Manager, UNM Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (COSAP)

1. General

The University of New Mexico is committed to wellness, prevention, and providing a healthful environment in which to learn, work, and visit. For these reasons and in compliance with state law, smoking and the use of tobacco (including e-cigarettes) are prohibited on all University campuses and property, except for a small number of designated outdoor smoking areas.  Accordingly, smoking and tobacco use are prohibited inside University buildings, in University owned vehicles, and in privately owned vehicles on University property.

A state law, the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act, establishes smoke-free areas that extend within a reasonable distance from doorways, windows, and ventilation system intakes. It also prohibits situations where people must pass through tobacco smoke to enter or exit a building. In order to enforce this state law consistently near all campus buildings, smoking and tobacco use are prohibited except in a small number of designated outdoor smoking areas. UNM Police officers are authorized to enforce the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act by issuing citations for smoking and tobacco use outside of the designated areas. Fines for non-compliance are graduated and start at $100.00.

2. Definitions

  • “Electronic smoking device” means any product containing or delivering nicotine or any other substance that can be used by a person to simulate smoking through inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the product. The term includes any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah, or vape pen, or under any other product name or descriptor.

  • “Hookah” means a water pipe and any associated products and devices which are used to produce fumes, smoke, or vapor from the burning of material including, but not limited to, tobacco, shisha, or other plant matter.

  • “Designated smoking areas” mean the small number of locations, all of which are outside, where smoking and tobacco use can occur without violating the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act.

  • “Smoking and tobacco use” means:

    • Inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, including hookahs, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form.
    • Using an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form.
    • Using smokeless tobacco, such as chew, dip, snus, and snuff.

3.  Dangers of Smoking and Tobacco Use

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use is the single chief preventable cause of premature death and disease in our society.  It is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer, including cancer of the lung, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, and pancreas.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, smoking causes about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths a day.

Exposure to secondhand smoke has been shown to cause lung cancer, coronary heart disease, and other respiratory problems in nonsmoking adults and children. The Surgeon General has concluded there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even small amounts can be harmful to an individual's health.  The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that smokeless tobacco, including chewing tobacco and snuff, contains twenty-eight (28) different carcinogens proven to cause cancers of the lip, tongue, cheeks, gums, and the floor and roof of the mouth and other diseases of the mouth. 

Many electronic smoking devices closely resemble and purposely mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale an aerosol or vapor that can contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals.  After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including a toxic chemical used in antifreeze.

Hookah smoke contains many of the same harmful toxins as cigarette smoke and has been associated with lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, and periodontal disease.  A hookah smoking session may expose the smoker to more smoke over a longer period than occurs when smoking a cigarette and higher concentrations of the same toxins found in cigarette smoke.  A typical one-hour-long hookah smoking session involves 200 puffs, while an average cigarette is 20 puffs.  Using a hookah to smoke tobacco poses a serious health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the emitted smoke.

There is no safe level of tobacco use.  Members of the University community who use any type of tobacco product are strongly urged to quit (see Section 6 for smoking cessation resources).  People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial gains in life expectancy compared with those who continue to smoke.  According to the NCI, quitting smoking even at the time of a cancer diagnosis reduces the risk of death.

Smoking and tobacco use cause fire and safety risks, litter the area, and burden custodial staff. Refraining from smoking and tobacco use demonstrates respect for the campus environment and its people.

4. Transition to a Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Environment

Smoking and tobacco use are limited to the confines of the designated outdoor areas, which are clearly marked. Individuals choosing to smoke or use tobacco in the designated areas are responsible for properly and safely disposing of all smoking and tobacco litter in the appropriate receptacles.   

These designated smoking areas are provided to create a positive transition for individuals who currently smoke and use tobacco, and will be reduced as UNM phases into a totally smoke- and tobacco-free environment.  Current smokers and users of tobacco are encouraged to use this transition period to get help to quit (see Section 6). 

UNM will, with few exceptions, become a smoke- and tobacco-free environment by Fall Semester 2017. At that time, the only designated smoking areas on campus will be located near the residence halls on the Albuquerque Campus and provided in the interests of safety for the use of residential students on Main Campus and South Campus, and at the UNM Hospital.

5. Education and Enforcement

The success of this policy requires thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation between smokers and nonsmokers. Members of our campus community are empowered to respectfully inform others about this policy in an ongoing effort to enhance awareness and encourage compliance.  This policy will depend upon the cooperation of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors not only to comply with this policy, but also to encourage others to comply with the policy, in order to promote a healthful environment in which to work and study.

A group of ambassadors will be trained and deployed to educate and promote awareness of this policy. 

UNM Police and Security personnel will enforce state law related to tobacco use and can be called on for assistance with disruptive behavior (verbal or physical). UNM Police also can issue citations for violators of the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act who repeatedly smoke or use tobacco outside of the designated smoking areas.

Violations by students and visitors should be referred to the Dean of Students for review and action under the Student Code of Conduct and the Visitor Code of Conduct.  Violations of this policy by faculty and staff should be referred to the cognizant dean, director, or department head.  Supervisors are encouraged to address noncompliance with this policy by coaching employees and in annual reviews.  Students, faculty, and staff violating this policy are subject to disciplinary action.  Those having difficulty complying with these restrictions are encouraged to seek assistance from the smoking cessation resources listed in Section 6.

Branch campuses and other satellite locations may develop and provide additional education, support, and compliance programs.

6. Resources

The State of New Mexico has a free quitting program that can include three months of nicotine replacement therapy; one-on-one phone coaching sessions with trained tobacco counselors; a “Web Coach”; text messaging; and other assistance.  For more information, call 1.800-QUITNOW or go to

Faculty and staff covered by health insurance may contact their health care provider for benefits available under their health plan.

Information on additional smoking cessation resources and support services may be obtained from the University’s:

Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention

Employee Wellness

Student Health and Counseling

Counseling Assistance and Referral Service