Online Program

Assessing a university's undergraduate student body for a smoke-free campus policy

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Robert Braun, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Health and Sport Sciences, Otterbein University, Westerville, OH
Calli Studebaker, Otterbein University
Megan Dominik, Otterbein University
Michelle Riegler, MS, Department of Health and Sport Sciences, Otterbein University, Westerville, OH
Deanna Williamson, Otterbein University
Jiunn-Jye Sheu, PhD, MSPH, MCHES, Department of Health and Recreation Professions, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Background: Smoke free campus policies (SFCP) have come to the forefront in higher education. National studies showed 18-24 age group had the highest prevalence of tobacco use. Among these young adults, nearly one-fourth of undergraduate students are current tobacco users. This study was developed to assess the feasibility in changing a mid-west university's current policy to smoke free campus.

Methods: This cross-sectional study collected data from randomly selected undergraduate classes from a suburban, private liberal-arts university. The paper and pencil survey used 14 questions to assess the attitudes and beliefs about the development of a SFCP. Power was achieved through a representative, acceptable sample size of 365 participants.

Results: Of these participants, 70% were female, 89% were Caucasian with a mean age of 21 (±3). Although only 9% of the participants smoked, 45% were not in favor of a SFCP. Thirty-percent of smokers were interested in smoking cessation programs. Almost half of the respondents indicated eye/nose/throat irritation as the most frequently suffered secondary smoke effect. Chi-square analysis revealed women were significantly more likely than men to support this policy (p<0.01).

Implications: Because the majority of the respondents favor a SFCP, future actions include assessing the attitudes and beliefs of university employees and to develop community forums for those living around the campus who will be directly affected by this policy change. The results of those analyses can contribute to the university's policy development. Additionally, further analysis will occur to explain the discrepancy between those who smoke and prefer a SFCP.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Assess the student's attitude towards a smoke-free campus policy Discuss the steps taken in developing a smoke-free campus policy

Keyword(s): Tobacco Policy, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the faculty advisor for this "Smoke-Free Campus Initiative." I teach the public health classes at Otterbein and am very passionate about the development of this policy. My background is in Public Health, receiving an MPH at George Washington University and a Health Education doctorate at the University of Toledo.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.