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Communication Checklist for Tobacco-Free Policy Implementation

Top Priorities:

  1. Implementation date chosen.
  2. Create a policy implementation team.
  3. Work with administration to order signs; think strategically about where to post them, including entrances and high-traffic areas.
  4. Set a date to remove all ashtrays and smoking material receptacles from campus.
  5. Develop a communication plan (ideas below).
  6. Create a plan for handling violations
    1. Make sure your enforcement plan is fair and equitable. Here is a guide from Changelab Solutions. Create reminder handouts or cards for distribution at outdoor sporting events and other potential problem areas.
    2. Offer to tadministrators, staff, students and community volunteers to politely remind folks seen violating the policy to comply.
    3. Consider creating a video to help educate campus about the policy. Here’s an example from Binghamton University in NY, one from Emory University in Atlanta, and one from Portland Community College.

Communication to Students 

  • Post tobacco-free campus signs strategically near building entrances and grounds, parking lots, high-traffic areas and place no-smoking stickers in official vehicles.
  • Use posters, flyers and banners to educate about the coming policy.
  • Place details on student websites, orientation guides and at student orientation meetings. Include an explanation and justification of the policy, outline the consequences for violations, and request support in compliance with the policy.
  • Spread the information through campus organizations, activities, newspapers/newsletters, web pages and social media platforms.
  • Place cessation information at student health center(s) if applicable; educate students about tobacco cessation support resources such as:
    1. QuitlineNC, which is available by calling 1-800-Quit-Now, texting READY to 200-400 or visiting www.quitlinenc.com).
    2. The Truth Initiative’s This is Quitting texting program to help young people quit vaping. Text DITCHJUUL to 88709.
    3. Smokefree.gov, which has programs to help quit smoking and vaping, including a text program and a smart phone app.
  • Involve student groups, particularly those associated with health-related majors, to promote the policy change within their peer groups.
  • Use social media to your advantage in getting the word out; ask students to share the information.

Communication to Faculty, Staff, and Contractors

  • Provide faculty and staff with a copy of the policy and an email explanation from the College/University President.
  • Discuss the policy at faculty/staff meetings and new staff orientation.
  • Include policy information at in-service training for campus faculty/staff.
  • Include information in faculty/staff newsletters.
  • When contracting with others for various projects on campus be sure it is clear this is a tobacco-free campus for everyone, including contractors.
  • Educate staff about tobacco cessation insurance support, and programs such as QuitlineNC, available at 1-800-Quit-Now, by texting READY to 200-400 or at www.quitlinenc.com.

Communication to The Public

  • Include an article outlining the policy and cessation resources in campus newsletters, social media and local/community newspapers.
  • College/University President writes a guest editorial to the local paper explaining the rationale for the policy.
  • Inform alumni groups of the policy through alumni publications.
  • Inform community organizations that use campus facilities of the policy through language in the facility use contract.
  • Use social media to your advantage in getting the word out; ask others to share the information.
  • Announce the new policy at events, meetings, concerts and plays. Info can be placed in brochures or programs when there is an event open to the public.

Additional Activities for the Effective Date

  • Send out a press release to local media outlets publicizing policy. Here’s a blogpost with easy instructions and templates.
  • Set up tables at well-traveled areas on campus to provide materials that celebrate the policy and give away information about cessation opportunities.
  • Post signs, posters, banners around campus.
  • Announce policy at athletic events, meetings and other student and faculty events.
  • Post a copy of the policy and a list of cessation resources around campus.


PDF of this list available

NCDHHS, Division of Public Health
North Carolina Public Health
QuitlineNC.com