Smoke Free & Tobacco Free

Southern Union State Community College Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policy

"Because Southern Union State Community College is committed to providing a safe and healthy working and learning environment for the students, faculty, and staff on its campuses, it will be a Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Environment beginning Fall 2015."

The use of all forms of tobacco products on property owned, leased, rented, in the possession of, or in any way used by Southern Union is expressly prohibited. "Tobacco Products" is defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco such as hookahs or simulate the use of tobacco such as electronic cigarettes.

Further, this policy prohibits any advertising, sale, or free sampling of tobacco products on Southern Union properties. This prohibition includes but is not limited to all areas indoors and outdoors, buildings and parking lots owned, leased, rented or otherwise used by Southern Union. The use of tobacco products is prohibited in all vehicles – private or public vehicles - located on Southern Union properties.

This policy applies to all persons who enter the areas described above, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, contractors and subcontractors, spectators, and visitors. All events hosted by a Southern Union shall be smoke and tobacco-free.

Compliance and Enforcement

Faculty, staff and students of Southern Union State Community College are expected to be positive role models and good ambassadors of the tobacco-free and smoke-free policy to campus visitors. The monitoring and enforcement of the tobacco-free and smoke free policy is the responsibility of all Southern Union faculty, staff and students. Each member should consistently and politely bring any infraction of this policy to the attention of the person or persons observed violating the policy.

Disciplinary Actions for students not following the Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policy

  • 1st Offense and thereafter - $25 Ticket
  • Students owing fines will have all college records placed on hold until fines are paid. 


All Southern Union supervisors must inform subordinate faculty and staff members of this policy and inform them that failure to comply can be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Employee infractions should be reported to the employee's supervisor or department head, or Human Resources if unknown. Supervisors will utilize progressive discipline, beginning with a reminder of the policy and an offer of assistance with smoking cessation.


All Southern Union students who fail to comply with the policy will be reported to the Dean of Students. Any student who violates the policy will be subject to corrective action according to procedures as stated in the Student Handbook.

Visitors, Vendors, or Contractors, and others not specifically employed by Southern Union:

Visitors, vendors, or contractors, and others not specifically employed by Southern Union will be reported to the department responsible for their presence on campus. Attempts should be made to remedy violations prior to contacting Southern Union’s police. In circumstances where departmental leadership is unable to remedy the situation, then Southern Union Police will be contacted for assistance. Visitors who violate this policy will be informed that they may be asked to leave the premises. Vendors and contractors may be subject to action, up to and including, the legal termination of a contract.

Current Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. Adults

Aged 18 Years and Older

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.
In 2013, an estimated 17.8% (42.1 million) U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. Of these, 76.9% (32.4 million) smoked every day, and 23.1% (9.7 million) smoked some days.

By Race/Ethnicity
Race/Ethnicity Prevalence

American Indian/Alaska Natives (non-Hispanic) 26.1%
Asians (non-Hispanic) 9.6%
Blacks (non-Hispanic) 18.3%
Hispanics 12.1%
Multiple Races (non-Hispanic) 26.8%
Whites (non-Hispanic) 19.4%

By Sex
Sex Prevalence
Men 20.5%
Women 15.3%

By Age
Age Prevalence

18–24 years 18.7%
25–44 years 20.1%
45–64 years 19.9%
65 years and older   8.8%

By Education
Education Level Prevalence

Less than high school 24.2%
GED 41.4%
High school graduate 22.0%
Some college 20.9%
Associate degree 17.8%
Undergraduate degree   9.1%
Postgraduate degree   5.6%

By Poverty Status
Income Status Prevalence

Below poverty level 29.2%
At or above poverty level 16.2%

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Benefits of Quitting

Want a fast return on a health investment? Quit Smoking!

  • Studies show the body begins changing within 20 minutes after not smoking. Both your blood pressure and pulse rate will drop, and your feet and hands will actually get warmer.
  • After eight hours, carbon monoxide levels in your body will drop and oxygen levels will rise to normal.
  • After 24 hours, your chances for heart attack have been reduced and, after 48 hours, atrophied nerve endings in your body actually begin to grow. At this point, you may notice your ability to smell and taste has improved slightly.
  • Within three months, your circulation is better, and your lung function has increased. Meanwhile, coughing, sinus congestion and shortness of breath have slowly begun to decrease.
  • By one year, you've cut your risk of coronary heart disease to half that of a smoker. From five to 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk drops to the same levels as people who never smoked.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is half that of a continuing cigarette smoker, and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas have gone down.
  • Then, at 15 years, your risk of heart disease and death is about the same as people who have never smoked.

Smoking is not the only way to use tobacco. There is the smokeless variety, and the most common way to use it is referred to as chewing or dipping. Many of the same benefits that come after someone quits smoking happen when someone quits dipping.

  • Within hours after you stop, your blood pressure and heart rate begin to return to normal.
  • Your breath begins to improve and you've stopped dying your teeth an unnatural color. You've taken an important first step toward preventing gum disease, loose teeth and mouth sores.
  • You've also stopped increasing your risk of contracting oral and nasal cancer, or suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Another important benefit of being tobacco-free occurs in your wallet.

  • The tobacco habit is expensive. Figure out how much you spend on tobacco a week. Multiply that number by 52. Take that number and multiply it by the number of years you've been smoking.
  • Then, imagine what you could have bought with the money.

Source: American Lung Association, American Cancer Society.

Student Resources
Tobacco Free U
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Break The Habit with Tobacco Free College
American Lung Association: Freedom from Smoking Online
The American Cancer Society
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for more information.
The National Cancer Institute
Call 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) to speak with an English- or Spanish-speaking counselor. Visit for other resources.

Contact Us

Jimmy Holmes – Wadley
Chief of Campus Police
334 328 4743

Randy Burroughs – Opelika
Campus Police
334 324 3631

Tiffany Sanders
Dean of Students
256 395 2211

Amy Rogers
Health and Wellness Coordinator
334 745 6437 ext: 5530