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Article |Attitudes towards smokefree campus policies in New Zealand

What is the level of support for a total smokefree campus policy and other smokefree policy initiatives, amongst NZ university staff and students?

This study, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, found that both staff and students at a NZ university indicated strong support for smokefree policies, such as creating a completely smokefree campus, not allowing tobacco to be sold on campus, and not allowing the acceptance of research funding from the tobacco industry.

A potential barrier preventing tertiary education institutions working towards a smokefree campus is a perceived risk of opposition from staff and students.   Our findings should encourage other tertiary education providers, as well as other workplaces, to adopt full campus smokefree policies.

Abstract

Aim

This study examines the level of support for a completely smokefree campus policy and other smokefree policy initiatives amongst staff and students at a New Zealand University.

Methods

Attitudes to smoking on campus, smokefree campus policies, implementation and enforcement of smokefree policies were assessed using an online survey of 332 staff and 268 students; giving a response rate of 51% from staff and 41% from students.

Results

Most participants had never smoked, or were past smokers; few reported being current smokers. Participants agreed that exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful, disliked being exposed to second-hand smoke on campus, and felt the university should promote a healthy work and study environment. Results indicated strong support for smokefree policies, and participants made several recommendations regarding smokefree policies. Most disagreed that compliance with a smokefree policy should be voluntary, but felt that campus security should warn people who breach the policy.

Conclusions

These results provide a sound basis for university administrators to implement smokefree policies. While around half of the tertiary education institutions in New Zealand already have a completely smokefree campus policy, greater adoption of this policy by tertiary education institutions would foster realisation of the government’s goal that New Zealand become a smokefree nation by 2025.

A potential barrier preventing tertiary education institutions working towards a smokefree campus is a perceived risk of opposition from staff and students. Our study found strong support for smokefree campus policies; these findings should encourage other universities, polytechnics and other tertiary education providers to adopt full campus smokefree policies.

Citation
Marsh, L., Robertson, L., Cameron, C. (2014). Attitudes towards smokefree campus policies in New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1393).

To view the full article please click here. (Note password required until November 2014)

For further information, please contact:

Louise Marsh
University of Otago, Dunedin
email: louise.marsh@otago.ac.nz