Frequently Asked Questions
How does the new policy differ from the previous policies?
Our previous Tobacco-free Campus Policy prohibited smoking indoors but allowed smoking in designated outdoor areas. Effective March 1, 2012, the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy eliminated these designated outdoor smoking areas and prohibits the use of tobacco products in all buildings, grounds, and spaces either leased or owned by the Medical University (MUSC, MUHA, and MUSC Physicians). The use of tobacco products is also prohibited on the streets and sidewalks within the Medical District as defined by the City of Charleston ordinance (effective March 1, 2013).
Does the policy apply to the use of tobacco products besides cigarettes?
Tobacco products include, but are not limited to: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other smokeless tobacco products.
Does the policy prohibit me from bringing cigarettes or other tobacco products to work?
No, however faculty, staff, and volunteers are expected to comply with the Tobacco-free Campus Policy and assist with sharing information about the policy. The use of any tobacco product is prohibited in all buildings, grounds, and spaces either leased or owned by the Medical University and its affiliates. The use of tobacco products is also prohibited on the streets and sidewalks within the Medical District as defined by the City of Charleston ordinance (effective March 1, 2013).
To whom does the policy apply?
The provisions of this policy apply to all employees (including faculty and staff), patients, visitors, students, volunteers, contractors, and vendors (unless otherwise noted).
Is the policy in effect at all times or only during regular working hours?
The policy is in effect at all times.
When does the policy take effect?
The tobacco free campus policy took effect on March 1, 2012. Revised March 1, 2013 to include City of Charleston ordinance regarding the Medical District streets and sidewalks.
Where does the new policy apply? Are any locations exempted?
The new policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and spaces either leased or owned by the Medical University, UMA, and MUHA. No MUSC property is excluded or exempted. The use of tobacco products is also prohibited on the streets and sidewalks within the Medical District as defined by the City of Charleston ordinance (effective March 1, 2013). MUSC also prohibits the use of tobacco products by staff on private properties adjacent to the Medical District without explicit approval from the property owner.
Individuals should refrain from smoking in areas where smoke is likely to enter private property through entrances, windows, ventilation systems, or other means. Individuals are also expected to respect requests to refrain from smoking in particular areas if asked to do so by agents or employees of the University.
Am I allowed to smoke in my car while it’s parked on MUSC property?
The use of tobacco products is also prohibited in personal vehicles parked on MUSC and affiliate property.
Does the policy prohibit smoking in MUSC-owned vehicles (e.g. government vehicles) only while those vehicles are on MUSC property?
Yes, the use of tobacco products in University owned, operated, or leased vehicles is prohibited.
Am I allowed to take breaks to leave MUSC property to smoke?
MUSC Human Resources Policy No. 9, Work Schedules, indicates that a morning and afternoon break is not guaranteed, but can be granted at the discretion of the supervisor. Since breaks are typically considered work time, they cannot exceed the normally acceptable break duration. The Work Schedules Policy should be applied consistently with respect to breaks for smokers and non-smokers.
In addition, the use of tobacco products while representing MUSC, wearing an MUSC badge, or on a paid break is prohibited.
How will the policy be enforced?
The monitoring and enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of ALL MUSC/MUHA/UMA employees, students, and volunteers. Each individual should consistently and politely bring any infraction of this policy to the attention of the person or persons observed violating the policy.
MUSC Department of Public Safety and Medical Center Safety and Security will assist in the enforcement of this policy by reporting violations to the appropriate manager or supervisor. The City of Charleston will also assist in enforcement related to the Medical District ordinance.
MUSC will provide Tobacco-free Campus Policy information cards to individuals in order to facilitate the education and enforcement of the policy.
I’m a supervisor and my employee has violated this policy. What should I do?
Supervisors should contact Human Resources, Employee Relations to discuss, and assess any violation patterns so that appropriate action is initiated. Employees who are found to be in violation will be disciplined in accordance with the Human Resources policy No. 45, Disciplinary Action. Action may range from written reprimand to termination. Specific guidelines are outlined in MUSC, MUHA, and UMA policies.
If I see someone smoking on MUSC property, what should I do?
When employees or volunteers observe violations of the policy, they should politely hand the person a Tobacco-free Campus Policy information card and request that they dispose of the tobacco materials. If the person is observed repeatedly violating the policy after being advised, staff should note the location and time of the violation and contact their respective manager, Department of Public Safety, or Medical Center Safety and Security, or Human Resources.
I'm an employee and my supervisor has violated this policy. What should I do? Am I protected from repercussions?
All employees are responsible for assisting in the enforcement of the policy, without repercussions. The supervisor should be politely informed of the policy. If a pattern is noted, the individual should be reported to their respective manager, Department of Public Safety, or Medical Center Safety and Security, or Human Resources.
What happens if I declared on my MUSC insurance form that I am a non-smoker and then I am found in violation of the policy due to smoking on campus?
While MUSC will not report violations to the South Carolina Employee Insurance Program (EIP), the institution is relying on the honesty and integrity of its workforce for this certification form. An employee will not be reported to the EIP; however, it is important to understand that if the employee is diagnosed with an illness that is as a result of tobacco use there are consequences regarding their insurance coverage and surcharge premiums/penalties according to the program guidelines.
I currently smoke. Does this mean that I have to quit?
No. The Tobacco-free Campus policy only requires that you refrain from the use of tobacco products in all buildings, grounds, and spaces either leased or owned by MUSC. The use of tobacco products is also prohibited on the streets and sidewalks within the Medical District as defined by the City of Charleston ordinance.
What resources are available to help employees who want to take advantage of this opportunity to quit smoking?
Many resources are available to MUSC employees who are ready to make that decision and are looking for help and are either free or for a small fee. They include a variety of formats and strategies, are available to MUSC employees, spouses, covered dependents, and students, and are offered at convenient times and locations. For discounts on nicotine replacement products and medications, visit any MUSC Pharmacy location for more information.
Is MUSC making assistance available to contract and other non-fulltime employees who would like to quit smoking?
Yes, even employees who are not covered under the state health plan have access to all resources – many for free or at a reduced cost.
Can I obtain telephone quit line cessation counseling, visit the MUSC clinic to obtain cessation mediations, or otherwise access cessation assist during my workday?
Employees should access cessation resources during scheduled breaks, before, or after work. If an employee feels the need to access resources during work hours, they should first discuss this concern with their supervisor.