Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Australian university smoke-free policy implementation: a staff and student survey

Ashleigh Guillaumier A E , Billie Bonevski A , Christine Paul A , John Wiggers A B , John Germov C , Dylan Mitchell D and Diane Bunch D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Locked Bag 1000, New Lambton, NSW 2305, Australia.

B Hunter New England Population Health, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, NSW 2287, Australia.

C School of Humanities and Social Science, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

D Human Resource Services, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: Ashleigh.Guillaumier@newcastle.edu.au

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 28(2) 165-169 https://doi.org/10.1071/HE16063
Submitted: 2 June 2016  Accepted: 7 October 2016   Published: 18 November 2016

Abstract

Issue addressed: Universities represent important settings for the implementation of public health initiatives such as smoke-free policies. The study aimed to assess staff and student attitudes towards policy enforcement and compliance as well as the acceptability of the provision of cessation support in this setting.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted following the introduction of a designated-areas partial smoke-free policy at two campuses of one Australian university in 2014. Staff (n = 533) and students (n = 3060) completed separate online surveys assessing attitudes towards smoke-free policy enforcement and compliance, and acceptability of university-provided cessation support.

Results: Students held significantly stronger beliefs than staff that the smoke-free policy required staff enforcement (69% vs 60%) and violation penalties (67% vs 60%; both P’s <0.01); however, most staff (66%) did not believe enforcement was part of their role. Only 55% of student smokers were aware that the university provided any cessation support. ‘Free or cheap nicotine replacement therapy’ (65%) and ‘free stop smoking counselling service’ (60%) were the most popular strategies student smokers thought the university should provide.

Conclusions: University staff and students hold conflicting views over the need for policy enforcement and who is responsible for enforcement roles. Students view the university as an acceptable setting for the provision of smoking cessation support.

So what?: Where staff are expected to enforce smoke-free policies, specific education and training should be provided. Ongoing monitoring of compliance and enforcement behaviour appears necessary to avoid the pervasive kind of non-compliance to smoke-free policies that have been seen in other settings.


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