NSights Blog

Tobacco Free campus: Let's try, try and try again

A tobacco free campus environment can be realized through the use of a multitude of on-campus resources.

At first glance, enjoying fresh air, free from second hand smoke, seems to be the obvious reason behind adopting a Tobacco Free University policy. While clean air may be a benefit for our campus, the research actually supports other outcomes with powerful benefits.  What the research supports, and the reason we went to tobacco free, is that policies such as these can reduce tobacco use rates and their consequential health and economic burdens. 

It does so in two ways:

It helps people quit!

A Tobacco Free policy at a workplace, campus, park, or other space creates a safe haven for those who are in the difficult process of quitting.  Being around people who smoke can trigger a withdrawal response (craving) and creates an added challenge when quitting.  Research shows that those who are trying to quit will have greater success in a supportive, healthy and smoke-free environment.  Policies like these can also prompt a quit attempt.  We saw this here at our own University where over 300 individuals have utilized our tobacco cessation resources in anticipation of the policy!

It helps people stay tobacco free!

It is human nature to do what others are doing, we call this a social norm.  When you work or even live in an environment that is tobacco free it is much easier to make the choice to not use tobacco, because that is the social norm.  This is especially important for our young adult population, as research shows that almost no one starts smoking after the age of 25.  Research shows that policies like this will prevent young adults from starting and decrease the progression to established smoking.

When the University of Nevada, Reno chose to go tobacco free we knew we must provide resources for those who may choose to quit. We saw this modeled at other campuses and wanted the same for our own.  Quitting is what this policy is all about, so cessation resources were developed as the perfect pairing.

One of the most effective cessation tools can be success stories – to hear from someone who has already quit.  Nicotine is a powerful addiction and quitting is incredibly hard.  On average it takes 9 quit attempts to be successful. Hearing the challenges, the tricks that worked, and the successes can give someone the extra encouragement they need to quit for good.  We want to hear your story!  If you have quit, please tell us about it.  Success stories can be sent to Enid Jennings at ejennings@unr.edu


... if you use tobacco or not;

... if you love the policy or maybe not so much;

... if you quit on your first attempt or you are working on your sixth;

... it can't be denied, by complying with the policy you are helping others and you may very well be saving a life.  And we thank you for that extraordinary effort!

Enid Jennings is health educator and program coordinator for the Student Health Center.

Enid Jennings