FAQs and Tips for Administrators
Before addressing any of these policy steps on your campus, it may be wise to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in this initiative for feedback and support. Such a task force may include students, faculty, staff, alumni, volunteers, visitors, parents, trustees, smokers, non-smokers, community members, donors, etc. This may make for a more time-intensive process, but will make your policies more user-friendly, and less likely to change over time.
Thankfully, since your campus is in Maine, the hardest part of prohibiting smoking within all university-affiliated buildings (including residence halls, administrative facilities, classrooms, and fraternities and sororities) is already covered by the Workplace Smoking Act. For more information on the current workplace and public place restrictions under Maine State Law please review the Summary of Maine Laws and Rules Related to Secondhand Smoke.
How can we include other areas in the policy?
Extending your current policy to cover other places such as outdoor campus areas, athletic fields, university and/or personal vehicles, and off-site university-sponsored events can be a next step decision for your task force.
How do we prohibit the sale of tobacco products on campus?
Nearly every school has a bookstore, small campus kiosk or convenience store where items like cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are readily available for sale to members and visitors of the campus. An easy way to keep tobacco use down on campus, and help to support and enforce your policy, is to prohibit the sale of all tobacco products on campus.
How do we prohibit the free distribution of tobacco products on campus, including fraternities and sororities?
Tobacco companies already know that college students are an easy target to hook the next generation of addicts on their products. To this end, they often come to campuses and give away free cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products as part of promotional marketing campaigns. By prohibiting promotional representatives from visiting your campus, there is less attention drawn to the products themselves, and fewer students will be able to use the “free” tobacco products.
How do we prohibit tobacco advertisements in college-run publications?
Because they are wildly wealthy, tobacco companies can often seem like the good guys, fronting the money for such noble pursuits as student newspapers, or other university-run or sponsored media. Since tobacco advertising is prohibited in all television and radio media, print media is the go-to for tobacco companies. The conflict is that their sponsorship allows for the free or subsidized distribution of the publication, thereby garnering a larger audience and exposing vulnerable students to tobacco advertising. While it may be difficult to find money for student publications, try seeking out local businesses or products for sponsorship instead.
How do we provide free, accessible tobacco treatment on campus – and advertise it?
Campus health centers are already full of resources that help people quit tobacco. Mental health counseling for stress management, and nutritionists/dieticians for helping control weight issues head off two reasons people use tobacco products. Additional resources such as motivational interviewing or nicotine-specific counseling can also help. Having prescriptions or other nicotine replacement therapies available are at the discretion of your campus health director. Your local Healthy Maine Partnership can provide information on local quit groups and resources, as well as help your school obtain free materials and information on the Maine Tobacco Helpline, a free telephonic counseling resource for Maine people looking to quit tobacco use.
How do we prohibit campus organizations from accepting money from tobacco companies?
Tobacco companies target students, especially Greek organizations, to sponsor parties, events and general operations. Keeping tobacco money off your campus allows for the companies to have less sway over your student body, and sends a message to both the industry and your students that your school does not endorse or support tobacco use.
How do we prohibit the university from holding stock in or accepting donations from the tobacco industry?
This is an item that your Board of Trustees or other governance board can address. Try seeking out other industries/companies from which your alumni network are a part and/or are local to your campus. Both the Harvard School of Public Health and Medicine deny funding from big tobacco companies, and they are one university among many that have chosen to eliminate their connection to Big Tobacco in the interest of promoting a healthier, tobacco-free environment to their students, staff and community. Read more information on this effort.
How do we encourage students, staff and faculty to be tobacco-free?
Provide incentives to campus employees and students to quit or reduce their use of tobacco. Hold campus-wide competitions, build awareness, and promote the resources available on campus and in the community to help them quit. Connect with your local Healthy Maine Partnership to develop “Quit and Win” events and encourage students and staff to take the get-quit challenge during the Great American Smoke-Out on November 18, 2010.
How do we offer NRT or other quit smoking resources?
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is available in many forms. Over the counter options include a nicotine patch, nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenges, while prescription choices include nicotine nasal spray, nicotine inhalers, and non-nicotine prescription drugs such as Zyban, Wellbutrin, and Chantix tablets. Students are encouraged to utilize the free counseling and low and no-cost NRT products that may be provided by contacting the Maine Tobacco HelpLine at 1-800-207-1230.
How do we enforce the policy?
Regardless of the smoke- or tobacco-free policy you choose to adopt, it is key that you address enforcement of the policy seriously, with consistent and prompt response to any violation. Enforcement can run the gamut from “see something, say something,” giving everyone on campus the chance to enforce the tobacco-free policy, to assigning enforcement to a particular department such as Security/Public Safety, Maintenance, or the Office of Student Life. Appropriate signage or physical boundaries (i.e. painting a line 50 feet away from the doorway or posting signage on all buildings) should also be used to reinforce the policy. For sample template signage, the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network provides printable PDFs you can use to develop signage for your campus.
Successful enforcement of the policy requires effective communication. Successful enforcement also depends upon the consideration, thoughtfulness and cooperation of everyone. Enforcement language should be included in the text of the policy. All must share in the responsibility for adhering to, and enforcing the, policy. Any problems should be brought to the attention of the appropriate supervisor and/or department head to ensure violations are handled promptly, with consistency in the manner that each violation is addressed.
Both passive (i.e., voluntary compliance, signage, etc.) and active (i.e., inclusion in employee manuals, student codes of conduct, etc.) enforcement should be included in the process of addressing tobacco-use and prevention on the campus.
FAQs from Faculty/Staff/Students/Visitors
It is likely that your new policy will bring about many questions. Here are some questions you can anticipate when implementing your campus tobacco-free policy, and some tips you can follow to address them, based on your unique campus policy.
Where can I smoke?
Be clear about this answer. A simple, direct answer such as “You can only use tobacco products in the designated area between the south quadrangle and Williams dorm,” or “You cannot use tobacco products anywhere on campus. Please go across Campus Avenue and/or School Street to smoke on city/town sidewalks.” Again, clearly marking designated areas on campus will leave less to the imagination of the employees and students, and also help new visitors comply with your policy upon arrival. Ensure everyone knows where they are allowed, and not allowed, to smoke by posting signage and notifying incoming students of where designated smoking areas are made available on campus.
What are the penalties and who does the enforcing?
Some schools go so far as to issue citations for smoking or using tobacco on campus, such as issuing tickets and/or fees for violations. Others prefer to let their signage and individuals do the enforcing, allowing faculty, staff and students to address one-on-one with others the importance of maintaining clean air and a healthy environment on campus. Whatever you decide, be clear about what the enforcement policy and resulting penalty/ies may be (i.e. “three-strikes and you’re out”, fees, picking up cigarette litter, etc.) and ensure that your students, staff and visitors are well aware of what they face for any infractions.
Why do we need a policy?
Smokers and other tobacco users may feel threatened by the new policy. Be clear that your policy is not about the smoker, but the negative health impacts of tobacco-use and tobacco smoke. Using tobacco is NOT a right while all people on campus are entitled to clean air. Whatever the reasons for your policy, state them directly and remind tobacco users that you are not asking them to quit, but rather, take their habit elsewhere for the greater good of the campus community and property.
How can I quit?
Making it more difficult for people to use tobacco on campus may be just the push they need to quit for good. Let them know what resources are available from health services on campus, both in terms of counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). In addition, make the campus community aware of the free resources provided by the Maine Tobacco Helpline. Students and staff should be encouraged to contact the councilors at the Helpline by calling 1-800-207-1230. More information on quit services and incentives to make quitting easier can be obtained by contacting your local Healthy Maine Partnership.
What does a smoke-free and/or tobacco-free campus mean?
Whether you decide upon a smoke-free or a tobacco-free campus, be sure to define it clearly in your policy and your communications. Some people may think that this means no smoking anywhere on campus, while this may not be the case. Can students or employees use tobacco in their personal vehicles on campus? What about designated areas? This can also be addressed in the “Where can I smoke?” section. Be sure to set clear boundaries to your policy, by highlighting areas, placing ashtrays at designated smoking sites and using signage where and whenever policy to remind everyone visiting the campus of your policy.
BACCHUS and GAMMA Campus Assessment (page 40)
The BACCHUS Network is accepting applications through Jan 31, 2010 for a new Certification for Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, recognizing campuses that have implemented strong tobacco policies. Click here for more on the Certification for Tobacco-Free Campus Policy.
The Maine Tobacco-Free College Network is willing to serve as a conduit for surveys that have been completed by individuals and groups on Maine's campuses.
Surveys have been conducted on Maine's campuses, and the results, as well as the survey format, are of interest to the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network. We welcome copies of surveys from Maine and from other states.
Please send surveys to:
Maine Tobacco-Free College Network
389 Congress St, Room 307
Portland, ME 04101
The Smoke Free Oregon, Tobacco Free Colleges website is a wonderful resource from the American Lung Association of Oregon. Not only is there a how-to guide for college policymakers, but there are also links to student and staff demand for tobacco-free campuses/workplaces.
Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine (PTM)
PTM offers resources for the young adult (18-24) audience and provides facts on higher rates of social smoking for college-attending youth versus non-college attending youth. The link also provides Maine young adult smoking statistics, as well as prevention and cessation resources.
Healthy Maine Partnerships (HMP)
Your local Healthy Maine Partnership can provide resources for developing and implementing a tobacco-free policy. Use the dropdown on our homepage to find your local HMP. Someone there can help get your campus started toward becoming tobacco-free!
American Cancer Society (ACS) Smoke-Free College Campus Initiative
The ACS Smoke-Free College Campus Initiative provides a 7-step plan to become a tobacco-free school. This link will provide details on how to make your campus tobacco-free, while also clearing your campus of any financial connections to the tobacco industry.
Tobacco Free U
Works on college campuses to prevent starting, promote quitting, prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, and ultimately create tobacco-free campuses across the nation.
helloCHANGE helloCHANGE is a movement of young activists who are taking a stand against Big Tobacco and their deadly products. There is a certain sexiness or appeal to activism and helloCHANGE definitely taps into that. The organization has created meaningful activism projects for young people, because like Big Tobacco, “[they] know the importance of targeting young people.”
Ozarks Technical Community College (Missouri)
For a more in-depth look at how one college became tobacco-free, follow the story of Ozarks Technical Community College in Missouri. Ty Patterson, Director of The Center of Excellence for Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, guides you through such topics as model community college tobacco-free policy, enforcement and consequences, definition of “tobacco-free,” cessation and enrollment effects.
Tobacco Free Colleges (North Carolina)
Targeted mainly toward student advocate leaders on North Carolina campuses, this website offers sample policy templates, surveys, marketing strategies and petitions.
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Smoke-Free College Campuses
For a more academic approach to your tobacco-free campus, the IOM has recent article citations promoting tobacco-free colleges, as well as highlighting a success story about Colorado Mountain College’s path to becoming tobacco-free.
The Maine Tobacco Free College Network has developed this handbill for you to promote your campus tobacco-free policy change. Feel free to customize it with your school logo and any additional information you would like to add.
Download the Handbill.
For your convenience, the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network provides signage templates for your campus to use to help increase awareness of your tobacco-free policy. Download the signage templates.