Campus administrator perceptions of the effectiveness of tobacco-free policies in California universities
Keywords:College administrators, Tobacco control, Tobacco-free policies, Tobacco-free universities, College students, Policy intervention
Background: In response to high levels of tobacco use among university students, the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems adopted tobacco-free policies in recent years. While few existing studies capture student response to these policies, there is no research that captures campus administrator perceptions on the effectiveness of these policies. This study was conducted to understand campus administrator perceptions of student compliance to tobacco-free policies in California universities.
Methods: This was a qualitative study to understand campus administrator perceptions of student compliance to the tobacco-free policies on select California universities. Data collection took place between March-May 2018 and included key informant (KI) interviews and a focus group (FG) with campus administrators from selected universities. Content analysis using Atlas.ti software was conducted to interpret results.
Results: Nine campus administrators participated in KI interviews and four further participated in a FG. Overall analysis of the results indicated that all administrators believe tobacco-free policies on their respective campuses are effective in reducing student tobacco use. Additionally, some administrators believed punitive methods were needed, while others felt creation of a cultural norm would be most effective, and all administrators believed smoking cessation programs were helpful resources to ensure policy compliance. Participants further agreed stronger implementation strategies relating to communicating policy provisions are needed to ensure student understanding of policy.
Conclusions: Administrators perceive that tobacco-free policies are effective in reducing tobacco use among university students. It is recommended that additional strategies are utilized to increase student awareness of the policy.
Surgeon General. (2018). Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventing-youth-tobacco-use/factsheet.html. Accessed on June 27, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control, 2020. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm. Accessed on January 29, 2022.
Lee JG, Goldstein AO, Kramer KD, Steiner J, Ezzell MM, Shah V. Statewide diffusion of 100% tobacco-free college and university policies. BMJ. 2011;19:4.
Seitz C, Kabir Z, Greiner B, Davoren M, McIntyre S. Enforcement of Smoke/Tobacco-free Policies at Public Universities in the US. Tobacco Regulatory Science: 2018;4(4):22-31.
Ickes MJ, Rayens MK, Wiggins A, Hahn EJ. Students’ beliefs about and perceived effectiveness of a tobacco-free campus policy. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2017;18(1):17-25.
Alyanak E. Evaluating the implementation of a tobacco-free policy across the 30 institutions of the University System of Georgia. Georgia State University. 2015. Available at: http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/iph_capstone/4. Accessed on May 28, 2018.
Reindl D, Glassman T, Price J, Dake J, Yingling F. Perceptions of College and University Presidents Regarding Tobacco-Free Campus Policies. J Am College Health. 2014;62:3:193-202.
Wechsler H, Kelley K, Seibring M, Kuo M, Rigotti N. College Smoking Policies and Smoking Cessation Programs: Results of a Survey of College Health Center Directors. J Am College Health. 2001;49(5):205-12.
Biber SH. Analyzing Qualitative Data: With or Without Software. 2010. Available at: https://www.bumc.bu.edu/crro/files/2010/07/Hesse-Bieber-4-10.pdf. Accessed on June 27, 2018.
Hahn E, Fallin A, Darville A, Kercsmar SE, McCann M, Record R. The three Ts of adopting tobacco-free policies on college campuses. Nurs Clin North Am. 2012;47(1):109-17.
Borders TF, Xu KT, Bacchi D, Cohen L, SoRelle-Miner D. College campus smoking policies and programs and students’ smoking behaviors. BMC Public Health. 2005;5:74.
Ickes MJ, Rayens MK, Wiggins A, Hahn EJ. A tobacco-free campus ambassador program and policy compliance. J Am College Health. 2014;63(2):126-33.
Kumar, O’Malley R, Johnston LD. School tobacco control policies related to students’ smoking attitudes toward smoking: National survey results, 1999-2000. Health Education Behavior. 2010;32(6):780-94.
Fallin-Bennett A, Roditis M, Glantz S. The carrot and the stick? Strategies to improve compliance with college campus tobacco policies. J Am College Health. 2016;65(2):122-30.