Frequently Asked Questions


  • Steve Terry, chair
  • Brianna Douglas
  • Lynn Griffin
  • Kyle Saverance
  • Jason Umfress


When will Coker College become tobacco-free?

  • The smoke-free campus policy goes into effect on January 1, 2014 and tobacco-free goes into effect August 15, 2014.


Why is Coker becoming a smoke-free campus?

  • Coker College seeks to provide a clean and healthy environment for all students, employees and visitors. A smoke-free campus policy will:
    • Protect people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to tobacco and passive smoke;
    • Promote cessation and create a supportive environment for those who are trying to quit smoking; and
    • Create a cleaner living, learning and working environment.
  • According to the CDC, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing an estimated 443,000 Americans annually. The CDC estimates that between one third and one half of all smokers will die from their addiction to tobacco.
  • Multiple studies affirm that there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke, including outdoor smoke.


What process was involved in making this decision?

  • The process began in 2009 with SGA proposing a new smoking policy that eliminated smoking within 10 feet of an entrance to a building. The City of Hartsville, in 2012-13, passed a smoking ordinance with which all business and industry had to comply. In spring of 2013, SGA polled students, faculty, and staff, all of which overwhelmingly supported going smoke-free. SGA proposed this to the President of the College in the spring of 2013, and a decision was made by the Administrative Officers to move toward a smoke-free campus environment.


How can I quit (or help someone I know quit)?


Are e-cigarettes included?

  • Yes, e-cigarettes will not be allowed once the smoke-free campus policy goes into effect for the following reasons:
    • E-cigarettes emit a vapor that contains tobacco by-products. National health agencies remain skeptical of the safety of these devices due to a lack of scientific data. Until FDA approval is granted, these will not be allowed on campus, which is consistent with national standards and guidelines.
    • The tobacco industry heavily markets e-cigarettes as a cessation device although they have not been approved by the FDA for this purpose. Allowing them in our policy may lead many smokers to turn to e-cigarettes as a cessation device, possibly unknowingly harming their health.
    • Because e-cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes, allowing them can create confusion for people responsible for enforcement.


What are the rights of smokers?

  • There is no legal right to smoke under either state or federal law. The college owns or leases campus property and can establish policies that protect the health of all campus members. Prohibiting smoking on campus provides access to clean, smoke-free air while allowing adults who smoke to continue to do so off-campus. This decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.


Are there any other educational institutions that have gone smoke-free?

  • Yes. There are over 700 campuses that are smoke free or tobacco free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.


Does the Smoke-free Campus Policy extend to other College-owned property?

  • Yes, the policy encompasses all College-owned or leased property. Smoking will be prohibited in all College owned vehicles as well.


Will there be designated smoking areas on campus?

  • No. Smoking will be prohibited on all property owned or leased by the College, including parking lots and outdoor spaces. Best smoke-free practices indicate that smoking zones and perimeter policies have not been found to be effective (or enforceable). Campuses with full smoke-free campus policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than policies that include smoking areas.


Will there be a map that shows the exact areas included in the policy?

  • Yes. This will be developed during the educational phase of policy implementation, which will include the specific boundaries.


What about athletic games, concerts or other public events?

  • All events occurring on property owned or leased by Coker College will be covered by the smoke-free campus policy. Signage, electronic and printed notices will be provided to visitors at games and events to make sure everyone is clearly informed about the policy.


How will the policy be enforced?

  • Initially there will be an emphasis on education as the campus and community adapt to the policy. Violators will receive a friendly reminder, along with cessation information. Repeat or problem violations will be handled like any other conduct issue on campus: either through the Dean of Students’ office or the Office of Human Resources.
  • A recent study of smoke-free campuses found that most campus members respect the policy once they are informed. Serious enforcement problems are infrequent and are managed by campus officials.


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

  • The policy will best be enforced by everyone taking an active role in informing people that a smoke-free campus policy is in effect. Based on the survey conducted by SGA in Spring 2013, Coker College students, faculty, and staff strongly supported a smoke-free environment, so it is appropriate for you to speak up.
  • If you notice an area where people are consistently violating the policy, please report this to Campus Safety at 843-383-8140.


How should I respond if someone gets angry or aggressive?

  • Do not continue to speak to anyone who becomes angry or confrontational. Walk away and report the behavior to Campus Safety.


What about ceremonial use of tobacco?

  • Specific ceremonial activities must be approved in advance by the President or his/her designee.


What about smokeless tobacco products?

  • From Jan. 1st until Aug. 15th, the policy will not prohibit smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco. After Aug. 15th, the tobacco-free policy will prohibit the use of any tobacco product, including but not limited to any lit or unlit cigarette, cigar, pipe, bidi, hookah, and all forms of smokeless tobacco and any nicotine delivery device that has not been approved by the FDA for cessation.