Australian university smoke-free policy implementation: a staff and student survey

Ashleigh Guillaumier, Billie Bonevski, Christine Paul, John Wiggers, John Germov, Dylan Mitchell, Diane Bunch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Issue addressed: Universities represent important settings for the implementation of public health initiatives such as smoke-free policies. The study aimed to assess staff and student attitudes towards policy enforcement and compliance as well as the acceptability of the provision of cessation support in this setting. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted following the introduction of a designated-areas partial smoke-free policy at two campuses of one Australian university in 2014. Staff (n = 533) and students (n = 3060) completed separate online surveys assessing attitudes towards smoke-free policy enforcement and compliance, and acceptability of university-provided cessation support. Results: Students held significantly stronger beliefs than staff that the smoke-free policy required staff enforcement (69% vs 60%) and violation penalties (67% vs 60%; both P’s <0.01); however, most staff (66%) did not believe enforcement was part of their role. Only 55% of student smokers were aware that the university provided any cessation support. ‘Free or cheap nicotine replacement therapy’ (65%) and ‘free stop smoking counselling service’ (60%) were the most popular strategies student smokers thought the university should provide. Conclusions: University staff and students hold conflicting views over the need for policy enforcement and who is responsible for enforcement roles. Students view the university as an acceptable setting for the provision of smoking cessation support. So what? Where staff are expected to enforce smoke-free policies, specific education and training should be provided. Ongoing monitoring of compliance and enforcement behaviour appears necessary to avoid the pervasive kind of noncompliance to smoke-free policies that have been seen in other settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-169
Number of pages5
JournalHealth promotion journal of Australia : official journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • smoke‐free policy
  • public health
  • university
  • student smokers
  • smoking counselling
  • nicotine replacement therapy


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