Predicting students' noncompliance with a smoke-free university campus policy.Prev Med 2018; 114:209-216PM
The adoption of university campus smoke-free and tobacco-free policies has risen dramatically, but research on effective implementation is scant. Significant challenges exist regarding policy implementation, particularly enforcement. This study examined college students' noncompliance with a recently implemented smoke-free campus policy at a public university. The sample included students who reported past-month smoking of tobacco or e-cigarettes in a 2013 web-based survey, 9 months after a smoke-free campus policy took effect. Ordinal logistic regression was used to examine predictors of students' having smoked on campus since the policy began (n = 1055). Predictor variables included past-month use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and non-cigarette tobacco products, secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, support for a smoke-free campus, tobacco-related social norms, use of strategies to deal with smoking urges, and other variables. In multivariate analysis, policy violation was positively associated with past-month use of cigarettes and non-cigarette combustible tobacco, SHS exposure on campus, living on campus, and use of nicotine gum/patches to handle urges. Violation was negatively associated with smoke-free campus support, age, estimates of student policy support and cigarette smoking, and self-reported absence of smoking urges. Results suggest that nicotine dependence may be an underlying influence on policy violation. Several recommendations are offered. First, upon policy adoption, campuses should ensure student smokers' access to cessation support and assistance with dealing with nicotine cravings. Second, campus information campaigns should focus particularly on younger students and those living on campus. Third, campuses should establish strong anti-tobacco norms, monitor SHS exposure, and communicate levels of students' policy support.