University of Vermont

Tobacco-Free UVM

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Tips for Talking to a Tobacco User

Approaching and talking with a smoker should be done in a respectful and non-judgmental way. The goal in talking to someone is to increase awareness about the tobacco free policy and change behavior in the long run, not to confront people. Compliance efforts will focus on education and collaboration with people on campus. It is expected that peer support, supervisory oversight, and voluntary compliance will lead to behavioral and cultural change, as has occurred at hundreds of institutions that have implemented tobacco-free policies.

Ideas you could use in a conversation about tobacco use:

  • You may not have heard about it yet, but UVM has a new tobacco free policy
  • The policy prohibits tobacco use on all University-owned property
  • The intent is to encourage a healthier environment for everyone
  • There are resources available to help you quit, and you can find them on the UVM website (
  • Thank you for respecting our policy.

For Supervisors or Managers

As a supervisor or manager you may encounter people who are not aware of, or not willing to comply with, the policy. Here are some ideas you could use in a conversation with them:

  • There have been some complaints about your use of tobacco on University property.
  • Our new policy prohibits the use of any tobacco product on our property.
  • It is important that the policy is followed to create a healthier environment for everyone.
  • It's difficult to break the habit, and there are resources to help you quit.
  • Thank you for respecting our policy.

Other issues may come up, including the right to smoke, uncertainty about cessation of tobacco use, or persistent infractions of the new policy. In these cases you might mention:

  • Policies have changed on many campuses, and have changed in other places over time. For instance, people used to be able to smoke in many buildings, on airplanes, and in restaurants and public places, and now they can't.
  • There could be consequences for not following the tobacco free policy, as there could be for not following any of our policies.
  • Would you like some help to come up with a plan to stop using tobacco?
  • There are resources available on the University website that could help you quit using tobacco.

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