President Benson: University to Become a Tobacco-Free Campus

Dear members of our UT Dallas community, 

UT Dallas will be taking action during the Spring 2017 semester to address a major issue of personal and community health, namely the use of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery products. The impact of smoking on health has been conclusively documented and accepted for decades. Even today, new research emerges that further documents the negative consequences of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers and how even a very minimal level of smoking shortens life expectancy. 

It is incumbent upon an institution dedicated to education and research to take a stand that addresses the health of all members of its community, smokers and nonsmokers alike. Likewise, we are obligated to do what we can as an institution to influence public attitudes and perceptions about tobacco. 

I have sought the advice and assistance on this matter from our fellow UT System institutions, all of which have implemented polices comprehensively banning tobacco and nicotine products from their campuses. Our paramount concern is assisting our valued faculty, staff and students who suffer from nicotine addiction.  

UT Southwestern and UT MD Anderson have developed treatments that can assist people seeking to eliminate their nicotine dependence. This spring, we will draw upon this expertise to assist faculty, staff and students in preparing for the impact of the total campus ban on tobacco products and nicotine dispensing mechanisms such as e-cigarettes. This will take effect on June 1. 

We are very sensitive to the serious stress this new policy will impose on some highly valued members of our UT Dallas family. However, I am convinced that we have an obligation to all concerned to put the public health of the community first, along with adding our voice to the efforts to eliminate the life-altering damage that is done every time someone begins to use tobacco. 

You will soon be receiving more information about our transition to a tobacco-free campus and the assistance we will offer to help those affected. 


Richard C. Benson signature

Dr. Richard C. Benson
Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].