Smoke-Free CUMC

To ensure a safe and healthy environment at Columbia University Medical Center, and in compliance with New York State and City codes and regulations, smoking is prohibited on all CUMC and NewYork-Presbyterian property, both indoors and out.

CUMC Smoke-Free Policy

Smoking, lighting, or carrying any form of lit tobacco or other substance, including vapor devices such as e-cigarettes, is strictly prohibited in CUMC buildings, residences, entrances, grounds, gardens, courtyards, construction sites, parking facilities, shuttle buses, and Public Safety vehicles.

Our policy is in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. We ask for your continued assistance in supporting our commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, patients, visitors, and community. When possible, please inform others of our commitment to a smoke-free medical center and to refrain from smoking while on CUMC premises.

Want to Quit Smoking? We Want to Help!

Smoking cessation information is available from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and at Smokefree.gov. If you're a CUMC student who wants to quit smoking, contact Student Health Service for more information.

FAQs

When did Columbia University Medical Center become a smoke-free campus?

Our smoke-free policy went into effect on August 10, 2009.

Why is Columbia University Medical Center a smoke-free campus?

The use of tobacco is one of the leading preventable health risks worldwide. Allowing the use of tobacco on campus runs counter to our knowledge of these significant risks, especially as an institution of higher education and a health-care provider and educator.

To whom does the policy apply?

The smoke-free policy applies to anyone who is on CUMC or NewYork-Presbyterian property, including faculty, staff, students, clinicians, patients, visitors, volunteers, and vendors.

Do I have to quit smoking or stop using tobacco to live, work, or study at CUMC?

All faculty, staff, and students are welcome at CUMC, but are expected to abide by our smoke-free policy.

What types of tobacco-related items are prohibited?

All types of tobacco are prohibited, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes, and any other smoking devices that use tobacco such as hookahs. Vapor devices, such as e-cigarettes, are also prohibited.

Which areas of CUMC are covered by the smoke-free policy?

The policy applies to all CUMC and NewYork-Presbyterian properties, including shuttle buses and parking facilities. In addition to indoor space, the policy also includes CUMC- and NewYork-Presbyterian-owned outdoor spaces—including in front of CUMC buildings and on the stairs—as well as public spaces adjacent to CUMC buildings.

What are some of the fire hazards associated with smoking?

Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Smoking can also be a fire hazard when smoke alarms and detectors are tampered with to conceal smoking in smoke-free areas. For fire safety information and helpful tips, check out the Fire Department, City of New York's Smoking Fire Safety flyer.

How is the policy being communicated to members of the CUMC community as well as to patients and visitors?

Signs are posted around campus and inside buildings.

How can I report an area that needs additional or refreshed smoke-free signage?

Submit a request with detailed information via our online form.

How is the smoke-free policy being enforced?

The success of this policy depends on everyone's thoughtfulness, respect, and cooperation. Faculty, staff, and students all share the responsibility of following and enforcing the policy. We strive for voluntary compliance with limited disciplinary actions. If you're found smoking in an on-campus residential apartment, everyone who resides in the apartment will be issued a $250 fine per occurrence.

For scripts and talking points for approaching smokers and supporting them in quitting smoking, contact the CUMC Smoke-Free Work Group.

If the campus has been smoke-free since 2009, why are people still smoking here?

We do occasionally receive complaints about smoking on campus, and we're employing several strategies to eliminate noncompliance, including updating signage around campus and providing materials to educate our community about the policy and the effects of smoking and tobacco use.

What do I do if I see someone smoking on campus?

Kindly let them know of our policy. Be sure to treat people with respect and professionalism, as patients and visitors may be unaware of the policy. But if someone becomes hostile or angry upon being approached, do not escalate the situation; simply walk away.