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Open Access Research article

“Moving forward: a cross sectional baseline study of staff and student attitudes towards a totally smoke free university campus”

Sharyn Burns*, Jonine Jancey, Nicole Bowser, Jude Comfort, Gemma Crawford, Jonathan Hallett, Bree Shields and Linda Portsmouth

Author Affiliations

Western Australian Centre for Health Promotion Research, School of Public Health, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:738  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-738

Published: 8 August 2013

Abstract

Background

Baseline data were collected to inform the adoption, implementation and institutionalisation phases of a completely smoke free campus policy at a large Western Australian university with a diverse student and staff community.

Methods

An online survey was randomly emailed to staff and students to measure the attitudes towards and the acceptability and enforcement of the policy prior to implementation. In total, 969 respondents completed the survey.

Results

General attitudes towards smoking were negative. While smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers were supportive of smoke free policy on campus, 65.7% of respondents felt the campus should be completely smoke free. Respondents indicated a smoke free policy should be stringently enforced. The majority of respondents reported that they had been exposed to second-hand smoke on campus (n = 768; 79.5%).

Conclusion

Theory of Organisational Change provides a useful framework to support the implementation of the completely smoke free policy in the University setting. The implementation process needs to consider the broad range of issues associated with implementing a completely smoke free policy and address issues such as safety of smokers, ensuring smokers are not marginalised and ensuring a comprehensive program is implemented. These baseline findings can be used to advocate for the implementation of a comprehensive range of strategies that recognise the addictive nature of tobacco smoking and address attitude and behaviour change, environmental adaptations and effective implementation of the policy. Administration should consider smokers and non-smokers when policy is implemented.

Keywords:
Smoke-free policy; Smoking attitudes; University settings; Young people; Theory of Organisational Change