Voluntary Compliance

The goal of the university is to achieve voluntary compliance with this policy through:

  • Education: Promoting awareness about the health and environmental consequences of all forms of tobacco.
  • Providing support: Availability to on-campus smoking cessation resources and supportive services. 
  • Community engagement: All members of the campus community share the responsibility of adhering to and enforcing the policy.

Employee Violators

Compliance overview:

Voluntary compliance has resulted in a reduction of tobacco use on the campus, as majority of the campus community is found to be supportive of the initiative. Noncompliance, however, remains an issue and many supervisors are requesting guidance in how to approach policy violations with employees.

Who this policy applies to:

These compliance guidelines apply to all full-time, part-time, benefitted, non-benefitted, professional, non-professional, contracted, unionized, and non-unionized employees.

Supervisors' role:

Your role is to support the tobacco-free initiative. You are a strategic partner in implementing this policy. Consistency in communicating the policy and addressing violations is critical to the success of the initiative.

  • Be informed: Know the fundamentals of the campus policy.
  • Educate: Communicate the policy courteously and non-confrontationally.
  • Support: Connect your employees with appropriate resources and services.
  • Take action: Hold employees accountable and address matters of repeated violations consistently in the same manner as you would other university policy violations.

Supervisor Toolkit: Strategies and Resources for Compliance

What am I supposed to do if I find someone smoking or using a tobacco product on campus?

Members of the campus community are encouraged to respectfully inform smokers and other tobacco users that UMass Amherst is 100% smoke- and tobacco-free, including e-cigarettes (indoors, outdoors, parking lots, vehicles, open spaces). Communication regarding smoking and tobacco use should be informative and respectful.

A few talking points for staff are to remind them of the influence of their tobacco use on our students; we need them to be role models. 99% of people begin smoking before age 26; studies show that being in a tobacco-free environment prevents tobacco use.

Tobacco-free reminder cards are available at the following campus locations:

When facing a disciplinary situation, give the employee time to tell his or her side of the story.

“We have received a complaint regarding your use of tobacco on campus. Share the details; I would like to give you an opportunity to hear your perspective. What happened?"

Be respectful. Listen and have empathy for the employee’s situation.

“I know that as a smoker or tobacco user, this policy may be difficult for you. I’m here to help you.”

Refocus the employee back to the issue (violating the tobacco-free campus) and ask them to come up with action steps to resolve the problem.

“Now that we’ve discussed the importance of complying with the tobacco-free policy, how will you manage to follow these guidelines in the future? Let’s talk specifically about what you will do the next time you feel the need to use tobacco during working hours. How will you manage the situation?”

Summarize what the employee said.

“So, what you’ve just said to me is (rephrase what you heard). "

 Another suggestion might be to suggest possible alternatives, such as offering our campus cessation resources.

Make sure they are aware of campus resources for tobacco cessation for those wishing to quit tobacco or to assist employees not ready to quit but wanting to adhere to the policy.

“I’d like you to consider trying these resources to help you get through your work day without using tobacco.”

  • Faculty Staff Assistance Program: (413) 545-0530 – cessation counseling for staff
  • Tobacco treatmenty specialist: (413) 545-2337 cessation counseling for students
  • UHS medical appointments: (413) 577-5101 for prescription medication
  • Nicotine replacement therapy discount vouchers are available at University Health Services. Ask a nurse or physician for one
  • Help Line-Quit Works: 1-800-QUIT-NOW free, confidential counseling throught the Massachusetts Department of Public Health 

Set up a future meeting to discuss progress.

“Let’s meet again in two weeks to discuss how you are doing. It’s important to me that you succeed in your plan to comply with the policy. So please let me know anytime between now and when we meet if you are having difficulty."

If violation of university policy continues, or the if staff smoker refuses to comply, progressive disciplinary action should be exercised.

 “Your repeated violation of campus policy calls for progressive disciplinary action. As your supervisor, I will need to take the following steps to encourage you against violating this policy again in the future.”

  • First violation: education only
  • Second violation: written warning
  • Third and continued violations: varying levels of suspensions, beginning with a one-day suspension and increasing incrementally

Consult your departmental human resource professional and follow HR advice and policies.

For additional campus support, contact Don Teres, Human Resources at:, (413) 545-1821

Town of Amherst

Tobacco users are expected to be respectful of campus neighbors. As such, they are to refrain from congregating or littering on public or private property adjacent to the UMass Amherst campus.

Visit the campus map to see the main campus' property boundaries outlined with a dotted grey line.