Objective: To evaluate the impact of a smoke-free campus policy on college students' smoking behaviors and attitudes.
Methods: The current study utilized repeated cross-sectional surveys with a nested 4-wave longitudinal cohort design. Data were collected from undergraduate students at two large matched public universities in Indiana before and after one of the campuses went smoke-free in January 2008. Baseline data were collected in fall 2007 (n=3266) and follow-up data were collected in fall 2009 (n=3207). In addition, volunteers provided longitudinal follow-up data at four different time points.
Results: In the cross-sectional analyses, students exposed to the smoke-free campus policy demonstrated significant favorable changes in smoking behavior (16.5% to 12.8%, p<0.001), perceptions of peer tobacco use (73.6% to 66.8%, p<0.001), and smoking norms (45.5% to 40.4%, p<0.001) compared to students on the control campus. In the longitudinal analyses, students exposed to the smoke-free campus policy demonstrated these changes plus significant favorable changes in attitudes toward regulation of tobacco (83.2% to 89.9%, p<0.01).
Conclusions: The implementation of a smoke-free campus policy may be an effective intervention for reducing tobacco use among college students.
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