Tobacco-free College Campuses


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Detailed Description

Prohibiting all tobacco use throughout a campus reduces the risks from secondhand smoke and promotes the health and well-being of members of the entire campus community. Because campuses are often highly visible within a community, adopting a tobacco-free policy educates the public, local government and organizations about the importance of the policy, and encourages them to adopt similar measures and promotes healthy social norms.

Expected Outcomes

To have a positive influence on student behavior by decreasing tobacco use rates and increasing student acceptance of smoke-free policies and restrictions among college students.

Key Lessons Learned

Communication and education are the most important factors in successfully implementing a new tobacco-free local regulation.


Prevention, College, Campus, Prevention, Tobacco

Cost Details

As of May 2014, the cost of this intervention is as follows:

  • Costs to purchase and post tobacco-free campus signs at all entrances of college buildings|grounds|parking lots|athletic facilities and in vehicles
  • Costs of updating student handbooks, websites and orientation guides
  • Additional costs may be incurred to spread the information through campus organizations, activities and newspapers
  • Additional costs may be incurred to develop business and public educational materials
  • Costs of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, based on availability of funds

For the latest cost details, please contact the Tobacco-free College Campuses program directly.

Key Steps for Implementation

Collect and review data and information about tobacco use. Conduct a policy assessment. Find and educate allies; Create a tobacco-free campus planning committee. Determine culture/perceived opinions of tobacco use and the desire for a tobacco-free policy. Use model tobacco-free college policy to help get you started. Develop a plan to educate the stakeholders. Prepare for meetings with decision-makers. Develop your implementation plan as you are working on your adoption strategies. Use your allies to form a tobacco-free campus implementation committee (may be the same as planning committee). Develop a compliance plan. Communicate the policy through multiple methods (e.g. signs, flyers, website, handbooks, etc). Implement the policy. Promote cessation services, especially Quitline and Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Evaluate the policy;s effectiveness.


College stakeholders

Policies, Laws and Regulations

Clear state and local authority

Required Staffing (FTEs)

0.50 FTE

Special Infrastructure

Links to the college administration, staff and students

Tobacco-free signs


Policy Development and community Organizing

Types of Staff

Master's in Public Health or equivalent experience

Return on Investment Details

Tobacco-free college environments lead to reductions in the numbers of students and staff who use tobacco, the amount of tobacco products consumed, reduced exposure to secondhand smoke, lower health care costs, reduced absenteeism and lower maintenance costs.

Outcome Measures

  • Decreased tobacco use
  • Reduced exposure to secondhand smoke

Process Measures

  • Percentage of Individual/families in the college community that support the policy
  • Differences in pre and post air quality
  • Compliance data
  • Number of referrals to the Quitline

Additional Resources

INFORMATION TO ASSIST COLLEGE LEADRES WITH CAMPUS TOBACCO POLICIES "" target=" "> College Tobacco Prevention Resource (CTPR) aims to provide practical information, ideas, and guidance to assist college leaders with planning, implementing, and evaluating effective campus tobacco policies and programs."" target=" "> -On September 12, 2012, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, together with tobacco policy experts and educational leaders, announced the official kick-off of the national Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative. "" target=" "> website walks you through the rationale for establishing a tobacco-free policy and tells you how to implement one on your campus."">"" target=" ">"">-Since 2006 the NC Tobacco-Free Colleges movement has worked to empower college campuses to protect students, employees, and visitors from the harms of secondhand smoke. The focus is to work collaboratively with campuses to promote policy adoption, reduce tobacco-related health disparities, and promote access to tobacco cessation services among college students."">

Website Url

Key Contacts

Clifford E. Douglas, J.D., Director, Organization: University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network


Alison Sipler, MPH, CHES, Director of Programs, Organization: Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC)


  • Tobacco use

  • Education


1-2 years


Moderately challenging



  • Community/place

  • School


To be determined

  • Youth 16-24

Geographic Context
  • Urban/large city

  • Suburban

  • Small town

  • Village

  • Rural

Geographic Unit
  • Region (spanning several counties and/or towns)

  • State

Words to Describe