Model Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policies

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/vapes, 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.

American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation provides an updated listing by state of colleges and universities with smoke-free and tobacco-free policies.  

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.  


Faith-Based Organizations

Places of worship help promote spiritual, emotional, and physical wellness in their congregations and their communities. As faith leaders, they play an important role in promoting smoke-free, vape-free, and tobacco-free policies for faith-based organizations, individual homes and vehicles, and other places of work. 


Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare providers can play a key role in decreasing cigarette smoking, the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. By adopting and implementing smoke-free, vape-free, and tobacco-free campuses, healthcare facilities are also eliminating secondhand smoke and vaping toxins exposure.


Recreational Settings

Secondhand smoke in outdoor areas also presents a health risk and should be addressed. Smoke-free, vape-free, and tobacco-free policies in this setting reduce secondhand smoke exposure, vaping toxins exposure, reduce litter from cigarette butts and discarded vape cartridges and caps, and discourage smoking and vaping modeling in front of youth. Securing outdoor policy has become a recommended policy by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



Many worksites are covered under smoke-free policies implemented by the municipality or county in which they are located.  Individual worksites can adopt and implement their own voluntary smoke-free, vape-free, and tobacco-free policies when there isn't a municipal or county ordinance in place where the business is located.


Community Organizations

The following policy can be used to create a 100% tobacco-free environment for community organizations.  This policy is inclusive of all commercial tobacco products, including e-cigarettes/vapes.