Objective: Research shows that restrictive smoking policies on college campuses could discourage smoking onset or help facilitate cessation efforts among students. However, many colleges and universities are reluctant to establish restrictive smoking policies for fear of student objections. Our study examined preferred smoking policies among college students in the Pacific Northwest.
Methods: We conducted a baseline cross-sectional descriptive study of a grouped randomized controlled trial at 30 four-year colleges and universities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Results: Of the 14,237 students who responded to the survey, 17.3% were smokers. All respondents were knowledgeable about indoor smoking policies; however, there was incongruence regarding outside policies. Some 88% of never smokers wanted a completely smoke-free indoor policy, while a substantial percentage (58%) of smokers concurred (odds ratio [OR]=0.19, p<0.001). Fewer respondents were supportive of outdoor policies (43.3% for never smokers and 6.9% for smokers). Respondents agreed that the desire to breathe clean air should have priority over the desire to smoke; however, smokers agreed to a lesser extent (97.5% for never smokers and 81.5% for smokers [OR=0.012, p<0.001]).
Conclusion: Both non-smokers and smokers have high approval rates for restrictive smoking policies on campus. Administrators can use this information to help enact restrictive campus smoking policies.