Campus Smoking Ban Yields Success
Even a lightly-enforced smoking ban can have major impact on a college campus. So says a study from Indiana University (IU) published online in the journal Preventive Medicine. When investigators looked at student behavior following the implementation of a smoke-free air policy at IU, they found that not only was smoking down, but student attitudes about lighting up had changed for the better as well.
"Having such a policy in place does appear to influence students' smoking-related norms and behaviors even without strong enforcement of the policy," said Dong-Chul Seo, associate professor in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, via a news release. "These results are encouraging for university administrators considering stronger tobacco control policies."
Seo said he was surprised by the reduced smoking rate at IU because the campus-wide smoke-free air policy was not actively enforced. "The positive changes may be attributable to increased awareness of the policy due to signage, media coverage, and a campus bus completely wrapped with anti-tobacco messaging," he said.
This study by IU is the first published report to evaluate the impact of smoke-free campus policies on student smoking. It found that not only did the IU student smoking rates drop after the campus-wide smoking ban was implemented, but those who continued smoking consumed fewer cigarettes.
The study was particularly interesting in that it compared behaviors of IU students to those at nearby Purdue University where no such smoke-free policy is in place. While smoking rates and support for on-campus smoking dropped at IU over the study's two years, they both went up at Purdue.
Hey, Purdue, Are you listening?