Tobacco and vaping products are proven to be harmful to smokers and those around them. While most US colleges continue to allow smoking on campus, 17 percent have taken a leadership stance by implementing a tobacco-free campus policy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths in the US every year. That number includes over 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmoking adults. The American Cancer Society (ACS) confirms that smoking accounts for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the US, and about 80 percent of lung cancer deaths. Smoking also increases the risk for lung diseases, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and a myriad of other health conditions.
Health and wellness benefits of smoke-free and tobacco-free campus policies
In recent years, there has been a steep decline in traditional cigarette use among college-age young adults; however, use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) like vaping and e-cigarettes has sharply increased. One study published in the Journal of American College Health found that some college students perceived vaping as “normal, trendy, and useful in circumventing smoke-free campus policies,” despite the health risks and the fact that nicotine is highly addictive.
The CDC recommends that colleges and universities implement and enforce smoke-free and tobacco-free policies. These policies can help protect non-smokers and those who are particularly susceptible (e.g., people with asthma) from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and e-cigarette aerosols.
According to the ACS, smoke-free and tobacco-free campus policies are particularly impactful when implemented at the college level because 99 percent of adult cigarette smokers began smoking before the age of 26. Implementing effective wellness messaging around tobacco use can help you encourage everyone to learn, live, work, and thrive in a healthier environment.
CampusWell can help you promote a culture of smoke-free wellness
Whether or not you already have an official tobacco-free campus policy, CampusWell can support your public health and wellness efforts in this area alongside various other health promotion initiatives. We recognize and advocate for all eight dimensions of wellness for your students. Our unique weekly student-centered content is created and delivered via our online platform and is customized and branded for your school. Our rigorous standards ensure that every article, video, and infographic is based on scientific evidence, and the tone and style relate to students in an educational, yet friendly and non-judgmental way.
Some examples of recently published articles that promote quitting smoking are:
- Do you really know what’s in your e-cigarette?
- 5 ways vaping can mess with your teeth and gums
- Smoking Q&A: What do we know about vaping, juuling, and cigarettes?
The CampusWell platform provides an excellent opportunity to communicate and connect with students en masse in a format that they enjoy. Beyond health promotion, all administrative departments at member schools can collaboratively use the CampusWell platform to promote their own initiatives, events, workshops, and resources. Some colleges even get students involved in creating and publishing custom content about their campus, fellow students, and community.
CampusWell is a versatile platform that helps make a multi-departmental wellness initiative simple, sustainable, and engaging. Using technology, high quality, research-based content, and proven marketing strategies, together with your existing assets, we deliver a campus-wide wellness platform that will positively impact your students and institution.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, June 21). Tobacco-Free Policies on the Rise Across US Colleges and Universities. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/s0621-tobacco-free-policies-colleges-universities.html
Clendennen, S. L., Rangwala, S., Sumbe, A., Case, K. R., Wilkinson, A. V., Loukas, A., & Harrell, M. B. (2021). Understanding college students’ experiences using e-cigarettes and marijuana through qualitative interviews. Journal of American college health : J of ACH, 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2021.1998073
Gibson-Young, L., Martinasek, M., Tamulevicius, N., Fortner, M., & Alanazi, A. M. (2022). Examining electronic nicotine delivery system use and perception of use among college students with and without asthma across the South. Journal of American college health : J of ACH, 70(7), 2026–2032. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2020.1842414
Nabil, A. K., Barry, A. E., Kum, H. C., & Ohsfeldt, R. L. (2022). Actual and perceived E-cigarettes behaviors among a national sample of U.S. college students. Journal of American college health : J of ACH, 1–9. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2021.2024209
Russell, A. M., Yang, M., Barry, A. E., Merianos, A. L., & Lin, H. C. (2022). Stealth Vaping Among College Students on Four Geographically Distinct Tobacco-Free College Campuses: Prevalence and Practices. Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 24(3), 342–348. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntab153
Simmons, K. (2019, July 2). Few colleges and universities are 100% smoke-free or tobacco-free. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/few-colleges-and-universities-are-one-hundred-percent-smoke-or-tobacco-free.html
Thompson, C. (2018, October 4). Breathe easy: How colleges and universities are tackling tobacco use and secondhand smoke. Public Health Insider. Official Insights from Public Health – Seattle & King County Staff.
Yang, M., Russell, A. M., Barry, A. E., Merianos, A. L., & Lin, H. C. (2023). Stealth vaping and associated attitudes, perceptions, and control beliefs among US college students across four tobacco-free campuses. Addictive behaviors, 136, 107490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2022.107490