FARMINGTON — The University of Maine has banned tobacco products on campus, joining colleges and universities across the country.

The tobacco-free policy began Jan. 1.

The move means “UMF joins many institutions of higher education across the nation in claiming health safety as a priority for all community members,” according to a press release from the university.

“The policy is based on the international consensus of medical authorities that smoking, second-hand smoke, and tertiary residue from smoking are harmful to an individual’s health,” the press release said.

The policy covers all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, and non-FDA approved nicotine delivery devices, such as e-cigarettes. It applies to the entire campus, including athletic fields and parking lots.

The school first formed a task force of faculty, students and staff in 2005 “to help limit the campus community’s exposure to second-hand smoke,” the release said,

Development of a smoke-free policy for the campus began in in 2007.

UMF smoking policies have always complied with state law prohibiting smoking in university buildings and outside in areas of the campus where non-smokers might be exposed to smoke, the press release said. A smoke-free corridor was created on the campus in 2002. Smoke-free areas included handicapped entrances and UMF-owned vehicles.

To help ease the transition, the university is making smoking-cessation guidance available through the health center and making connections available to other resources.

New signs has been posted on the campus in all buildings, reminding employees, students, and visitors that the campus is now smoke-free.

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