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Smoking in the Workplace

  • Responsible Office: Human Resources, Division of Administration
  • Current Approved Version: 02/28/2018
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

Virginia Commonwealth University has designated all university buildings as “no smoking,” which includes the use of oral electronic devices that produce vapor containing nicotine and/or other substances. In light of VCU’s diverse population of employees, students, patients and visitors, the university will accommodate, to the extent possible and with the assistance of these individuals, the needs of smokers and non-smokers through a mutually comfortable environment and designated smoking areas outside of university-owned buildings. Note: the VCU Medical Center and Stony Point Campuses participate in the Clean AIR/Quality Care initiative and thus are smoke-free campuses both inside and outside of VCU Medical Center buildings.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

All faculty and staff are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.


There are no definitions associated with this policy and procedures.


VCU Human Resources officially interprets this policy and is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to VCU Human Resources.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

  1. Building Plans: The senior university official (or designated building manager) in each building shall develop that building’s plan for designating outside smoking areas. The vice president for administration shall resolve any dispute as to the person responsible for developing and submitting a building’s “no-smoking” plan.

    Outside smoking areas must be established a minimum of 25 feet away from front entrances to buildings and sufficiently far from windows to avoid smoke entering a building. Upon request, Facilities Management staff will work with a building manager to develop outdoor areas protected from weather, where feasible. The vice president for administration will review and approve all outside smoking area plans.

    Note: Smoking under controlled circumstances may be allowed where research is being conducted on human subjects. To accommodate that research, certain laboratory spaces will be outfitted with special ventilation.

  2. Employee Responsibilities: All VCU employees can help ensure that buildings remain smoke free by tactfully directing smokers to the nearest designated smoking areas outside the building. Failure to abide by “no smoking” designations may result in disciplinary action, as determined by employee supervisors who are charged with enforcing the provisions of this policy.

    Employees may use designated outside smoking areas during their normal work breaks. Institution-provided ash urns should be used to dispose of smoking material waste to avoid littering.

    In keeping with the institution’s medical, research and patient-care mission, VCU encourages individuals who smoke to avail themselves of alternative “no smoking” strategies (for example, smoking-cessation classes).


There are no forms associated with this policy and procedures.

Related Documents

  1. Governor’s Executive Order 41 (2006), Banning Smoking in State Offices and Vehicles 

  2. State Policy 1.25, Hours of Work 

  3. Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act 

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Approval/Revision DateTitle
January 16, 2009 Smoking in the Workplace
March 19, 2014 Smoking in the Workplace


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.