DHEC's Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control staff works to build statewide partnerships resulting in initiatives that reduce people's exposure to second-hand smoke. Tobacco Free and Smoke-Free settings in South Carolina currently include schools, hospitals, faith-based settings, work-sites, colleges/universities, and recreation facilities.
Smoke-Free policies often apply to combustible tobacco products ONLY and may allow designated smoking areas, may allow alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, or provide other exemptions.
Tobacco Free policies prohibit the use of all tobacco containing or tobacco-derived products, smokeless tobacco (snuff, chewing tobacco, dip, snus), and alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. Tobacco Free policies apply to everyone, in all setting locations, at all times (with no exemptions). It does not apply to Nicotine Replacement Therapy products (gum, patch, lozenge, inhaler), which help tobacco users with cessation efforts.
Colleges and Universities
Prior to more comprehensive efforts, many colleges and universities in South Carolina adopted Smoke-Free policies. Smoke-free campuses may have designated smoking areas, may allow smoking at sports venues or have other exemptions in their policy. While the majority of educational institutions are implementing Tobacco-Free policies, there are still a few implementing the less restrictive Smoke-Free policy.
Promotion of Tobacco Free policies for colleges and universities is a programmatic effort of the SC Tobacco-Free Collaborative, a DHEC community partner. Information regarding current Smoke Free and Tobacco Free colleges and universities is available on their website. In addition, the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation posts an updated listing by state of colleges and universities that meet Tobacco Free criteria. This listing has links to each policy.
Tobacco- Free Schools
Nicotine dependency and other tobacco-related health risks are a threat to SC youth. Data shows that more than 85% of adult smokers began using tobacco before the age of 18 and that 2,800 kids in the state become regular smokers each year. An estimated 103,000 kids in SC younger than age 18 will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease and many more will live with a tobacco-related illness.
- 100% Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Schools Model Policy
- Administrator’s Guide to Implementing Tobacco-Free Schools Model Policy
Historically, faith based organizations implemented Smoke Free policies for their events and locations. A desire for more specific language led to the adoption of what was then referred to as Tobacco Free policy. However, it must be noted that the Tobacco Free policies implemented by the faith community do not meet the same criteria of the Tobacco Free policies for schools, colleges, and universities. While DHEC recommends a more comprehensive Tobacco Free policy, it is up to each organization to determine the extent of the policy adopted. Promotion of Tobacco Free policy to faith-based organizations is accomplished through DHEC's community partner, Hold Out the Lifeline.
Health Care Facilities
In conjunction with the SC Hospital Association, DHEC is working to amend the original Tobacco Free policy for this setting to include more comprehensive parameters similar to the Tobacco Free policy used in other settings. Currently, Tobacco Free policy for the Health Care setting does not prohibit the use of e-cigarettes or other alternative nicotine products.
S.C. hospitals have realized the importance of promoting a positive health message by adopting and enforcing 100% tobacco-free policies for their buildings AND grounds to help ensure protection from secondhand smoke exposure.
Read a success story Up in Smoke: Tobacco-Free Policies Eliminate Smoking on Hospital Grounds (pdf).
In conjunction with several community partners, DHEC is working to amend the original Tobacco Free policy for this setting to include more comprehensive parameters similar to the Tobacco Free policy used in other settings. Currently, Tobacco Free policy for the Recreational setting does not prohibit the use of e-cigarettes or other alternative nicotine products.
Many work-sites are covered under Smoke Free policies implemented by the municipality or county ( list of Smoke Free Municipalities ) in which they are located. These policies vary and often only apply to public smoking. While DHEC recommends adoption of a more comprehensive Tobacco Free policy, it is up to each municipality to determine the extent of the policy adopted.
Promotion of Tobacco Free policies for work-sites is a programmatic effort of the SC Tobacco Free Collaborative, a DHEC community partner. Information regarding current Smoke Free work-sites is available on their website.