Create Change: A student toolkit from the tobacco-free colleges initiative.

Bookmark and Share


Most people willingly comply with a campus tobacco policy IF they know the policy is in place. Therefore, the best way to prevent policy violations is to publicize the policy often and through a variety of ways. Considerations around compliance should be woven into all phases of policy development, communication, implementation and monitoring. 

Policy Development 

Policy Rationale

When you are developing the policy, make sure that you are clear about why your campus is working to implement and comply with a tobacco free policy. Consider building in the rational during the adoption process, especially when students, faculty and staff members may ask you why the campus needs a tobacco free policy. 

Points to consider: 

  • Why is the policy necessary?
  • What is so bad about tobacco?
  • What are the affects tobacco use including secondhand smokes to the body?
  • What benefits does that campus have by adopting, implementing and complying with a tobacco free policy? 

Implementation Change Agent

Identify a faculty member to take a lead role in tobacco use prevention education, policy and cessation efforts for each school. Put tobacco use prevention in their job descriptions and provide the training and support necessary for them to do their job well.


Resources to help quit tobacco use: Make sure resources such as QuitlineNC is well publicized on the campus. The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive and users normally make multiple quit attempts before being able to quit all together. By providing information about quit tips, tobacco users can better adhere to the campus policy.


Use multiple strategies to communicate the policy to students, faculty and staff. Some examples are: 

To students 

  • Post tobacco-free campus signs at all entrances of school buildings, school grounds, parking lots, athletic facilities and in vehicles.
  • Place details in student handbooks and orientation guides and at student orientation meetings.
  • Spread the information through campus organizations, activities and newspapers. 

To faculty and staff

  • Provide faculty and staff with a copy of the policy and a letter of explanation from the Board of Trustees/college president. 
  • Include policy information at in-service training for campus faculty/staff.
  • Include information in faculty/staff newsletters. 

To the public

  • Inform alumni groups of the policy by including information in alumni publications.
  • Include an article outlining the policy and implications of the policy in school newsletters and school or community newspapers.


Unfortunately, some policy violations will undoubtedly occur. When they do, those who use tobacco on campus need to be reminded of the policy clearly, gently and tactfully. Violators are usually unaware of the policy and are happy to refrain from tobacco use once they are reminded. 

Tools to help with raising policy awareness: Tobacco Free College Policy Reminder cards.

NCDHHS, Division of Public Health
North Carolina Public Health