Today at Berkeley Lab

Comment Period on Proposed Change to Smoking and Tobacco Policy

Berkeley Lab’s proposed revision to the nonsmoking policy is now posted and open for employee comment. As announced last week, the Lab is revising its tobacco use policy following UC President Mark Yudof’s pledge to make all UC campuses tobacco-free by 2014. While the Lab will not be completely smoke-free, it is providing cessation resources and proposes to limit smoking to about 16 designated smoking areas at the main site and three areas at the Joint Genome Institute; it is also proposing to prohibit the use of smoke-free tobacco in Lab buildings and vehicles. The new policy will apply to all employees, as well as affiliates and visitors; hosts will be responsible for communicating the policy to their visitors. View the proposed policy here and a map of proposed designated smoking areas here. Send comments to by Sep. 16.


Aug. 26 Town Hall Meeting

Sep. 3 Town Hall Meeting

You can leave a comment. View the Comment Policy.


  1. HR Policies says:

    Thank you everyone for commenting on this proposed policy change. Your comments will be reviewed with management.

  2. Maybe I should start smoking…because I hope I’m dead before all the “in your best interest” and “cost to public healthcare” regulations suffocate our freedoms down to having only a choice of which shade of grey I should wear. Not that they’re on the same par, but this is the same kind of “logic” that already has New York regulating how much soda someone can buy (Dave)…But maybe you’re in favor of that regulation!? To Lyn, there are many things that are hazardous to our health. Education, not regulation, is key. To anonymous, littering carries a $1000 fine. If you’re worried about cigarette buts, argue for enforcing anti-littering laws already on the books. As for the rest of your argument – if said smokers are already ignoring the regulations, what is another regulation going to do? Won’t they just ignore that as well?

    Note to the Moderator of this discussion: When I previously posted to this same topic, you did not post my response claiming that you “don’t post anonymous posts, that we need to leave our name” (paraphrasing). Then after you finally posted it with my name, you (the moderator) wrote a rebuttal to my comment. Now I see an “anonymous” post that agrees with you, which strengthens my suspicion that you censored my response because you did not agree with it.

  3. Newer employees may not be aware that we have had several fires at LBNL in recent years from cigarettes — a wooden deck near ALS and a grass fire near the 71 trailers come to mind. If you have been watching the news reports from Yosemite or Mount Diablo, or have seen the videos of the Oakland Hills firestorm, you can see how quickly a small fire can become a major disaster on a dry hillside like this. I do not have a problem with people personally choosing to use smokeless tobacco, nicotine gum, or e-cigarettes, but burning tobacco near flammable materials is a real threat to everyone here.

  4. I am not a smoker. However I support the right of smokers to smoke. It is now abundantly clear that smoking increases the risk of various cancers. This is no longer hard to find. We have sequestered smokers to small out of the way corners of LBNL already where safe and clean disposal of smoker trash is possible.
    We continue to demonized smoking to the point where it appears to be as bad as other banned substances. This is a loss of credibility.
    I would hate to see my friends who smoke have to hide away to smoke. Doesn’t that increase the chance of a really tragic fire?

  5. anonymous 2 says:

    While it is true there are inconsiderate smokers, there are also ones who do utilize the butt containers, and stay in the designated areas. I think the focus should be on those who violate the policy by smoking in non smoking areas and throwing their butts on the ground. Not punishing those who follow the rules and regulations.

  6. E-cigarettes and nicotine gum are not tobacco products. Does the lab plan on regulating those as well? And if so how does is it justified?

  7. I would like to ask them to review one of the designated smoking areas…. it is located behind B58/58A….. that makes no sense for the smokers in Bldg 2 (there are quite a few) to walk all the way behind that building. Would it be possible to EXTEND this smoking area to end the rear door to B2 (near loading dock?).

  8. As a former smoker, I am aware of the health dangers to nonsmokers as well as the smell, etc. I’m not arguing with the points you have made here…..

    However, something I do not understand is why in the world the ban includes electronic devices? These have been proven to be a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, as there is no burning (no flames/matches) and they do not contain tobacco (which is the carcinogen that causes cancer), and the ‘smoke’ people see really is not smoke it is VAPOR (no more dangerous than the fog that we see here every morning). The only thing contained in these devices is nicotine oil (not a danger)

    Since electronic devices incorporate the same technology that humidifiers, inhalers and nebulizers do, so does that mean people with asthma won’t be able to use their inhalers? (sarcastic tone)
    Sound crazy? Think about it. My point: it doesn’t make sense to include electronic devices in this ban.

  9. David Bunzow says:

    There is no debate about the deadliness of primary, secondary and even tertiary cigarette smoke being the cause of very significant helth consequences to people. But the financial impact on our health system is tremendous and also has consequences to all of us who must pay for the impaired health care caused by smokers. This is NOT a debate about micromanagement or personal choice – but if it becomes one, then smokers at LBNL should be surcharged for their share of health care costs or simply denied group health care benefits. Alternately, anyone for creating a new “health”benefits group for smokers with much higher rates?

  10. the lab places so much emphasis on safe behavior, yet we allow staff to partake in a habit that is not only deadly to them, but hazardous to those exposed to second hand smoke, pollutes our environment (few if any smokers use the designated butt cans), and creates unnecessary fire hazards.

    this is a very contradictory message.

    people have the right to pursue their legal habits in their own home. it isn’t appropriate for the work place.

    ryan, coffee is not the cause of nearly 5 million deaths worldwide per year. it does not cause nearly 50,000 deaths due to second hand exposure in the U.S. per year. coffee does not increase the chances of fire in our dry hills. coffee is not an environmental hazard (like cigarette butts), though i do wish more people used reusable mugs!!

  11. anonymous says:

    I think LBL should adopt UC’s policy and ban smoking 100%. Many of the smokers at the Lab are inconsiderate. They drop their butts on the ground around the buildings even though there are butt containers all around the Lab. The Lab already has smoking areas. The smokers ignore them. They smoke wherever they please, usually right outside of the entrance to the buildings. The Federal Government banned smoking for all of their properties.

    Banning smoking would decrease the clean-up cost and reduce the fire hazard. Also, it would be better for everyone else who works in the office with the person who smells like smoke all day.Unless the Lab going to invest in those boxes for smokers like at the airport, I’m not sure how this policy is any change from what is already in place.

  12. In agreement with Ryan in #2. Micromanagement, segregation and isolation. The UC should stop this micromanagement. People have the right( freedom) to pursue their ‘happiness’ with out becoming a pariah.

  13. +1…;)

  14. Maybe they should make these the designated coffee drinking areas as well. I’m sick of all these people bringing their caffeine into meetings, getting hopped up on stimulants and I have to smell the odor of their coffee (verbal irony). Come on UC, STOP trying to micromanage people’s lives.

  15. I don’t have an opinion to share on the cigarette/cigar smoking issue, however, the ‘smokeless tobacco’ ( chewing tobacco I assume? )

    How does the lab propose recognizing the use of such and enforcing it, if they ID someone ‘chewing’ and can prove it…?

    And lastly ..why? There is no smoke to endanger others via secondary/second hand smoke etc…


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