Online Program

Using technology for tobacco prevention: A searchable database of Texas institutions of higher education and their tobacco policies

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Carlee McConnell, MPH, Texans Standing Tall, Austin, TX
Nosse Ovienmhada, Texans Standing Tall, Austin, TX
Lucia Cole, Texans Standing Tall, Austin, TX
Nicole Holt, BA in Political Science, Texans Standing Tall, Austin, TX
Atalie Nitibhon, MPAff, MHS, Texans Standing Tall, Austin, TX
The American College Health Association suggests that colleges and universities develop a strongly worded comprehensive tobacco-free policy that reflects the best practices in tobacco prevention, cessation, and control. An increasing number of colleges and universities have adopted comprehensive tobacco-free polices; however, many campuses still lack tobacco-free policies that fully protect the campus community.

Texans Standing Tall (TST) created the Database of Texas Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) and Their Tobacco Policies to assist campuses and community members in identifying an IHE’s tobacco-free campus policy and advocating for stronger policies. The database provides colleges and universities an opportunity to compare their policies to those of similar institutions and allows them to see examples of comprehensive tobacco-free campus policies. A comprehensive tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of any tobacco product, including smokeless tobacco products and innovations in smoke or tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes.

TST created a comprehensive list of 165 IHE campuses and collected tobacco policies from all IHE campuses in Texas. Using a modified version of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation’s campus policy rating criteria, TST rated each campus policy on the extent to which the policy prohibits smoking, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarette use on campus properties at all times. If a campus policy is not fully compliant in a policy area, the offending exemption(s) are identified to encourage a call to action by the campus.

Analysis of all campus tobacco policies indicate that 20% (33) campuses in Texas have 100% comprehensive tobacco-free policies. Similar databases could be created in other states to compile campus tobacco policies and motivate campuses to strengthen their tobacco policies.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the characteristics of a comprehensive tobacco-free campus policy. Evaluate campus tobacco policies. Describe how to create a searchable database of college and university tobacco policies to support campuses in adopting comprehensive tobacco-free policies.

Keyword(s): College Students, Tobacco Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My current work focuses on substance abuse prevention and tobacco control, which includes collaborating with campuses and coalitions throughout Texas to create smoke-free and tobacco-free environments. I also have previous experience working on national tobacco prevention and cessation programs. I hold a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin, where I focused on health policy issues, and a Master of Human Services from St. Edward’s University.
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.