Tobacco-Free Campuses:

A healthier place for students, staff, faculty and visitors

Achieving Success: Implementing and Promoting
a Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

While adopting a tobacco-free campus policy is an important step towards a healthier, cleaner campus, proper implementation and enforcement of your policy plus tobacco cessation services are key to policy success.

Communication is critical to the effective transition to a tobacco-free campus. The communication plan should include the announcement of the policy before the policy goes into effect as well as extensive communication about the policy. Communication should always be respectful and tied to tobacco cessation resources. Here are some more communication tips:

  • Signage should be located on the periphery of campus in areas of major access point. The signage should communicate that all facilities, buildings, and grounds are tobacco-free.
  • Maps should be developed outlining the boundaries of campus properties, indicating that all areas are tobacco-free.
  • The communication plan should address language to be inserted into all agreements and contracts (e.g. conferences and facility rentals).
  • Think through ways to deal with potential concerns including increased cigarette litter in neighbors’ yards or students smoking at the campus boarders.
  • Designate one person to receive feedback and complaints on the new policy.
  • The task force should continue to meet periodically to reassess implementation materials and determine if there are problem areas on campus.
  • The overall communication plan for the policy may utilize:
    • Campus newsletters
    • Student welcome packets
    • Emails to campus

A webpage to communicate the new policy that include the rationale for the new policy; a means for the campus community to provide feedback on the implementation of the new policy and information on how non-compliance with the policy will be handled on campus.

Most universities use an educational enforcement approach and report that it works well. In these cases, the focus of enforcement is on education, not punishment, and is a shared responsibility for students, staff, and faculty. Enforcement through education should include:

  • Highly visible and permanent signage across campus
  • Additional temporary signage that can be used during campus events
  • Distribution of reminder cards to individuals who violate the policy
  • Policy language in all relevant campus publications, including handbooks, the website and materials for incoming students
  • In extreme cases and as a last resort the institution should utilize existing student conduct policies and HR policies for individuals who continue to violate the policy after repeated reminders.
  • If barriers arise, assess feedback and complaints to determine if there are problem areas on campus or particular individuals who continue to violate the policy. Follow-up options might include:
    • Determining if additional signage is needed
    • Meeting with the students or employees who utilize that area the most to review the policy and discuss possible solutions
    • Meeting with the individual(s) to review the policy and possibly take disciplinary action

The cessation services component of a comprehensive tobacco-free campus policy connects students faculty and staff with existing cessation services including quitlines, quitting websites, and face-to-face counseling. Including cessation services as part of tobacco-free campus policy ensures greater policy success. To improve campus cessation services:

  • Evaluate the current cessation services on campus, including services available through the faculty and staff health care plan to determine need for increased services.
  • Encourage requiring the inclusion of tobacco use cessation products, medications, and services in student health insurance plans.
  • Promote existing services (see below) that include free/reduced-cost tobacco-cessation counseling, free/reduced-cost nicotine replacement therapy, and medication options.
  • Conduct outreach activities to increase awareness of cessation services on campus.

Cessation Resources:

  • QuitPlan ClearWay Minnesota’s series of free programs that combine counseling, medication and community to help smokers quit.
  • American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking.
  • Lung Helpline 1-800-LUNGUSA or 1-800-568-4872
  • MN health insurance plans:
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN, Blue Plus & First Plan of Minnesota 1-888-662-BLUE
    CCStpa 1-888-662-QUIT
    Health Partners 1-800-311-1052
    Medica & MCHA members 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE
    Metropolitan Health Plan & PreferredOne Community Plan 1-800-292-2336
    UCare Minnesota 1-888-642-5566

Examples of cessation services available at other colleges and universities:

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