How to approach someone who is using tobacco on campus

UWM is committed to providing students, faculty, staff and visitors with a smoke-free, tobacco-free and vapor-free environment. The success of the smoke and tobacco-free policy is dependent upon respectful behaviors from the entire community. We can all help UWM be a healthier, safer and cleaner place to learn, work and visit by following the policy and educating others when we see them using any type of tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.

Politely Ask. Respectfully Teach.

Respecting one another is the foundation of the smoke and tobacco-free policy. We can model respect in the way we help others learn about our policy. If you see someone smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco…

  • Introduce yourself and your role on campus.
  • Explain why you are approaching them, e.g., “I noticed you were vaping…”
  • Politely ask, “Did you know UWM is a smoke and tobacco-free campus?”
  • Respectfully teach individuals that they can use tobacco products off-campus. “Smoking/vaping is permitted on sidewalks across the street from campus property.”
  • Listen to the person’s reaction and respond with empathy. Avoid argumentation.
  • Offer a resource card if you have one or invite them to learn more at
  • Thank them for their time.

Additional Tips

  • Never approach an individual who is violating the policy if you feel unsafe for any reason. If the conversation begins to escalate, or you begin to feel unsafe, walk away.
  • Familiarize yourself with answers to frequently asked questions about the policy and resources for support.
  • Most individuals who use tobacco want to be respectful of policies and comply with the policy once they become aware of it.
  • If you notice a frequent pattern of tobacco use at a particular campus location and you wish to report it, you may do so here or by calling UWM Police at 414-229-4627.


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