Policy Number: 839

Policy Suffix:

General Policy

In order to provide a healthy and safe environment, and to comply with the City of Houston smoking ordinance and the rules of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, all uses of tobacco products are prohibited within or on university property unless such use is only in one of a limited number of designated areas or under another exception listed below. In addition, the advertisement, sale, or free sampling of tobacco products on university property is prohibited. Littering the campus with the remains of tobacco products or any other related waste product is also prohibited.


Tobacco products means all forms of tobacco and tobacco delivery devices, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookah), bidis, kreteks, electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco and any non-FDA approved nicotine delivery device.

University community means students, faculty, staff, Rice University affiliates, contractors and visitors.

means property that is owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by Rice University. This includes, but is not limited, to all buildings and structures, sidewalks, parking lots, walkways, grounds and attached parking structures owned or controlled by Rice University and all university-owned vehicles.

Scope & Application

This policy applies to all employees, students, Rice University affiliates, contractors and visitors and is applicable twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week.

Limited, Permitted Uses of Tobacco Products

Tobacco use may be permitted only under the following circumstances:

For sponsored research involving tobacco or tobacco products, when the following conditions have been met:

  • Prior approval has been given by the Office of Research
  • A waiver is requested and granted in accordance with sponsored research requirements, if any.
  • Smoke, like any other laboratory air contaminant, must be controlled. The designs for designated laboratories must be approved by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

By artists or actors who participate in university-authorized performances that require smoking as part of the artistic production.

In a limited number of tobacco use areas designated by the university and, to the greatest extent possible, be located away from buildings or structures to protect air quality near those structures. The university reserves the right to relocate or eliminate designated tobacco use locations as necessary and at its discretion.

In any event, the designated tobacco use locations will comply with the City of Houston smoking ordinance and the Texas Administrative Code, Title 25 Health Services, Part 11, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), Chapter 703, Grants for Cancer Prevention and Research, Section 703.20.


All faculty, staff, students and visitors of Rice University are required to comply with this policy. In most cases, noncompliance will be resolved informally through discussion and education. If noncompliance can't be resolved informally, faculty and staff will be subject to disciplinary action through the appropriate supervisor, in consultation with Human Resources.

Issues involving faculty that cannot be resolved informally should be brought to the attention of the department chair or dean. Student issues within the residential colleges should be brought to the attention of the magister or College Court. Graduate students living in Rice graduate residences should address issues in accordance with the residential policies. Other student issues that cannot be resolved informally should be referred to Student Judicial Programs.

Visitor issues that cannot be resolved informally should be referred to the Rice University Police Department. Visitors who refuse to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the campus and, if applicable, cited for violation of the city no-smoking ordinance.

Tobacco Cessation Assistance

Rice University supports all students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco products and offers assistance. Visit the following links for more information:

Tobacco cessation: http://quitsmoking.rice.edu

Responsible Officer

The responsible officer for this policy is the Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support.


David W. Leebron, President

Policy History

Clerical Change

March 4, 2024

October 17, 2023

August 15, 2023

January 18, 2023

March 14, 2018


August 2012


August 2010