While the overall tobacco use rate continues to decrease and public spaces are becoming increasingly tobacco free, tobacco use and exposure remain a problem on college campuses. Tobacco-free college campus policies are a proven solution to these problems Tobacco-free campus policies provide a healthier living, working and learning environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. College leaders are realizing the important role they can play in reducing tobacco use and exposure among young adults. As a result, colleges in Minnesota and across the country are implementing tobacco-free policies for their campuses. Through our Tobacco-Free Campus program, ANSR is working to promote the adoption of tobacco-free policies at colleges and universities located in Ramsey County. For more information contact: Emily Anderson, Tobacco-Free Campus Program Director: firstname.lastname@example.org (651) 646-3005
A Growing Trend
Over the past decade, the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses in the United States has grown at a tremendous pace. According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, as of January 2015, there are at least 1,514 100% smoke-free campuses in the US. Of these, 1014 are 100% tobacco-free, and 587 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes anywhere on campus. For a full listing of smoke- and tobacco-free campuses across the country click here.
Minnesota has seen similar growth in the number of tobacco-free campuses as of late. As of January 2015, there are more than 50 colleges and universities in the state with 100% comprehensive tobacco-free policies.
1 – Getting Started
Building the case for a Tobacco-Free Campus
A tobacco-free policy prohibits smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products on all school properties and in all school-owned or leased vehicles. A comprehensive tobacco use policy also prohibits the sale of tobacco products on campus, tobacco advertisements in school publications, and tobacco company sponsorship of school programs and events.
2 – 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.
3 – 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.