Washington State University

Revised 9-13
Environmental Health and Safety

Smoking Prohibited

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Washington state law (RCW Chapter 70.160) and University policy prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment.

See also below for links to campus policies.


WSU employees, students and visitors are responsible for complying with the following University smoking policy and any applicable campus policy.

Smoking is prohibited in any Washington State University owned, leased, or rented public place, or place of employment.


Smoke or Smoking

"Smoke" or "smoking" refers to the carrying or smoking of any kind of lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, electronic cigarette, or any other lighted smoking equipment.

Place of Employment

"Place of employment" refers to any area under the control of Washington State University through which employees are required to pass during the course of employment, including, but not limited to:

Windows that open, and
Ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited;

Public Place

"Public place" means that portion of any WSU owned, leased, or rented building or vehicle, and includes a minimum distance of 25 feet from:

Public places include, but are not limited to classrooms; laboratories; offices; residence halls; elevators; public conveyances or transportation facilities, including transit shelters; museums; concert halls; theaters; auditoriums; exhibition halls; indoor and outdoor sports arenas; hospitals; nursing homes; health care facilities or clinics; enclosed shopping centers; retail stores; retail service establishments; financial institutions; educational facilities; ticket areas; public hearing facilities; public restrooms; libraries; restaurants; waiting areas; lobbies; reception areas; bowling alleys; skating rinks; reception areas; and hotel or motel rooms that are rented to guests.

A public place does not include a private residence unless the private residence is used to provide licensed child care, foster care, adult care, or other similar social service care on the premises.

University apartments, but not apartment common areas, are considered private residences.

When a private residence is open for a public event, smoking is prohibited.


WSU posts signs at each entrance to WSU owned, leased, or rented public places and places of employment regarding the requirement that there be no smoking within 25 feet of the entrance.

WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver

WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver post signs in prominent locations around the campuses regarding campus restrictions.


The University Fire Marshal may designate other locations as no smoking areas, e.g., areas having flammable materials.


Any person passing by or through a public place while on a public sidewalk or public right of way has not intentionally violated this policy. However, the campus policies at WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver prohibit smoking or tobacco use in campus outdoor spaces. See below.

Any person who intentionally violates this policy by smoking in a public place or place of employment, or any person who removes, defaces, or destroys a sign required by this policy, is subject to a civil fine of up to $100. (RCW 70.160.070)

Any student, staff, or faculty member who violates the University or applicable campus smoking policy may also be subject to corrective or disciplinary action by the University.

The WSU Police Department and local law enforcement agencies enforce the no smoking prohibition by issuing a notice of infraction to be assessed in the same manner as traffic infractions.

At WSU Spokane, the Spokane Regional Health Department and local law enforcement agencies enforce the no smoking prohibition by issuing a notice of infraction.

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and local health departments enforce state law regarding the duties (e.g., signage, etc.) of owners or persons in control of WSU public places and places of employment. (RCW 70.160.050 and 70.160.070(3))


Littering of smoking products and waste (cigarette butts, packaging materials, etc.) is subject to civil fines. Discarding tobacco products and matches capable of starting a fire is subject to a civil fine and court fees and assessments. (RCW 70.93.060 and 7.80.120) For further information, see the Washington Department of Ecology Litter Laws and Litter Tax website at:


Littering of cigarette butts into storm drains and waterways is also violation of the federal and state Clean Water Act. Such littering is considered an illicit discharge that is prohibited by University policy. See 6.58. Cigarette butts leach nicotine which is extremely toxic to aquatic life and can obstruct stormwater conveyance systems.


Students, faculty, and staff refer disputes regarding smoking and no smoking areas to the responsible department administrator.

Department administrators may contact EH&S and the WSU Police Department for assistance in interpretation of this policy and Washington state law.


WSU students, faculty, and staff may contact the Health and Wellness Services for information about University-sponsored smoking cessation programs; telephone 335-3575.

A WSU faculty or staff employee may also contact Human Resource Services to access a smoking cessation program through his or her health insurance provider; telephone 335-4589.


WSU Spokane and WSU Vancouver have additional restrictions regarding tobacco and nicotine use.

WSU Spokane

WSU Spokane's campus policy prohibits the use and sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, in or on all Riverpoint campus grounds and state-owned vehicles and equipment.

To view the complete WSU Spokane policy, go to:


WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver's campus policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and any nicotine-delivery devices, including electronic cigarettes, that have not been approved for smoking-cessation purposes in or on WSU Vancouver campus grounds and state-owned vehicles and equipment.

To view the complete WSU Vancouver policy, go to: