University of California, Riverside

Tobacco Free



Supervisor Talking Points


UCR Smoke/Tobacco‐Free Supervisor Talking Points

As a supervisor, you may encounter faculty, student employees and staff who violate the new Smoke/Tobacco- Free policy because they are not aware of the change, or are not willing to comply with it. As a system-wide policy, it applies to all members of the University community. Below are suggestions you can use when you need to have a conversation with someone about their compliance with the policy.

These talking points are also available in a downloadable PDF.

1. Briefly state what you want to discuss. Open your conversation with non-accusatory, neutral phrases.

  • I'd like to talk to you about the Smoke/Tobacco Free policy on campus and what we can do to ensure that everyone follows it.

2. Describe specifically what you observed. If your employee was reported by someone else, be specific and objective about what was reported. Avoid attacking the individual. Focus on the behavior. Be brief and to the point.

  • Yesterday you were seen smoking behind the building.

3. State the impact of the action. Focus on a common goal or purpose, and state the consequences. Again, focus on the behavior, not the person.

  • It's important that we respect our campus policies. I realize that this is a change in policy, but we have always had policies regulating smoking on campus.

4. Ask them to respond. Summarize their key points. Remember, acknowledging their frustration, anger, etc. does not indicate agreement, but that you are trying to understand their point of view. It offers support, but does not indicate that you agree with them or with their actions.

  • It sounds like this is a frustrating time for you.
  • It sounds like you are angry about the new policy and don't agree with it.
  • It sounds like you don't think that the new policy is fair.

5. Focus the discussion on solutions. Ask for their input on ways they can comply with the policy. Offer empathy, but focus on solutions. Offer support and resources if appropriate.

  • Let's talk about what you'll do the next time you feel the need to smoke during working hours. What ideas do you have on how you can manage the situation? What can I do to help/support you?

6. Follow-up with the employee. Focus on offering your support.

  • Let's meet again in two weeks to discuss how you're doing. It's important to me that you succeed in this plan, so please let me know anytime between now and when we meet if you're having difficulties.

If the employee indicates an interest in cessation, feel free to offer these resources: http://tobaccofree.ucr.edu/cessation.html

This guide is not intended to address all situations. If you need additional assistance in addressing noncompliance with the policy please feel free to contact the Labor Relations office.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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