Smoke-Free Campus

Efforts to address the impact of smoking on Western’s campus have been ongoing for many years. In recent years the movements of other higher education campuses to smoke- or tobacco-free, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic’s focus on respiratory health, have generated renewed discussion.  

This page provides campus community members with the background on those efforts as well as information on current actions being taken.  


The university is dedicated to providing a healthful and productive environment for all employees, students, and the public visiting or conducting activities on campus. Following that, the university is committed to providing a smoke-free environment for employees, students, and the public who do not wish to be affected by second-hand smoke. 

Current Activity

On June 9th the WWU Board of Trustees approved the revised version of WAC 516-52-001 making the campus smoke- and vape-free. This was filed with the state Office of Code Reviser on the same day and becomes effective on July 10th, 2023.

Smoking Definition

Smoke or smoking means directly inhaling or exhaling smoke from, burning, or carrying any lit smoking instrument, or using an electronic cigarette or vaporizing device.  


Task Force members have been chosen to provide a wide variety of campus representation. A list of areas represented can be found on the BFA Committees Page


The history of this effort dates back to December of 1994 when, following a change in state law, smoking was prohibited inside buildings and within 25 feet of building openings. The full history can be found here.

Planned Exceptions

Smoking may be permitted for university-approved events that include cultural or religious uses, academic research, or theatrical productions. 

Smoke-Free Campus FAQ

The university is dedicated to providing a healthful and productive environment for the campus community. Part of this effort involves eliminating the concern of secondhand smoke. The pandemic also elevated the concern of respiratory health which is impacted by secondhand smoke. We are joining a number of other colleges and universities across the nation that have made the decision to go smoke-free.

Under the newly updated WAC 516-52-001 university property is all buildings, grounds, or assets owned or controlled by the university and the streets, sidewalks, plazas, parking lots to include all vehicles therein, and roadways within the properties owned or controlled by the university. Under Washington State policy smoking is also prohibited at all times in university owned vehicles whether on campus or not.

No. University owned or controlled parking lots are university property and smoking is not allowed.

University operations on locations owned and controlled by other entities will follow the laws and rules for that location.

With advance vice-president approval, smoking may be permitted for university-approved events such as cultural or religious uses, academic research, or theatrical productions.

Faculty, staff and students who see individuals smoking and vaping on campus may consider, if comfortable, advising the individuals that state law prohibits smoking anywhere on university property. Please do not call 911 or UPD at 360-650-3911. If there are repeat or egregious instances a Hazard Report can be filled out on the EHS Incident and Hazard Reporting page. This will allow us to spot trends so further action can be explored. Students in residence halls should follow their established reporting procedures.

Politely approach the individual and advise them that the campus is smoke-free. They may simply have not known. If you become uncomfortable with their reaction, simply walk away. Under no circumstances should you put yourself at risk.

1. Polite communication to the person smoking or vaping is the preferred first step

2. Repeat or egregious behavior should be reported as a hazard on the EHS Incident/Hazard reporting system. Students in residence halls should follow their established procedures

3. EHS will gather information from hazard reports and provide to UPD as needed

4. UPD officers may provide an educational visit to the offender(s)

5. If still not resolved and disciplinary action is required students would be reported to the Office of Student Life and employees would be reported to HR. UPD would address visitors and the general public

6. Citation by UPD would be the last resort and at the discretion of the officer

Employees can check with the Health Care Authority for which insurance plans offer cessation help. Students can contact the Counseling and Wellness Center for resources and the Student Health Center recommends this flyer from SAMHSA.

Resources available to anyone can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.

This is a big change for a campus this size. It will take some time for the culture to adapt. In the meantime, people who are not yet aware will likely smoke on campus. Not having the smoker poles available means butts on the ground and extra work for Grounds and Custodial employees. As the culture changes and they fall out of use Grounds will remove them.