Tobacco-Free Campuses:

A healthier place for students, staff, faculty and visitors

Moving Forward: Steps for Adopting a Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

Many post-secondary institutions have successfully implemented tobacco-free campus policies. Here are the most common guiding principles for policy success.

Focus on the tobacco use, not the tobacco user. Focus on health and safety regarding secondhand smoke, not individual rights.

Obtain campus leadership support and make this support visible to all members of the campus community.


Allow time from the time of the announcement of the new policy to the effective date for a thorough and supportive communication plan.

Provide training for supervisors on policy communication and enforcement.


Offer tobacco cessation resources to all students, faculty and staff before and after the policy change. Enforce the tobacco-free campus policy just as the previous no smoking policy with enforcement through education.

Celebrate!  The policy is a positive step towards a healthier, cleaner campus!

It is important to follow the necessary steps for successful implementation of a tobacco-free campus policy. While each campus is unique, these basic steps can lead towards policy success.


Convene a monthly committee comprised of a diverse group of campus stakeholders.


Complete a tobacco-free campus opinion survey of students, faculty and staff.

Complete a tobacco-free environmental assessment to determine smoking “hot spots” and the amount of tobacco litter on campus

Develop an action plan based on assessment findings, identifying short- and long-term goals

Develop a draft policy statement and share with institution stakeholders

Formally adopt and communicate the tobacco-free policy


Offer tobacco cessation resources to students, staff, and faculty

Improve the campus environment by removing cigarette receptacles and posting policy signage

Monitor compliance with the tobacco-free campus policy

Many campuses have successfully carried out a policy development process. The development of the University of Minnesota’s smoke- and tobacco-free policy began in 2008 and their policy was formally adopted in 2014.
Learn more about the history of their policy process click here. 

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