Background & Methods

Students and policies

The Texas College Tobacco Policy Database was created to serve as a resource for groups or individuals interested in tobacco-free campus policy implementation at Texas colleges and universities. Implementation of 100% tobacco-free campus policies can effectively decrease tobacco initiation among college and university student populations and increase smoking cessation rates.

To develop the database, an initial list of campuses was generated using the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s list of institutions and then expanded upon to include:

  • 44 private colleges
  • 44 public colleges
  • 100 public community college campuses
  • 16 health-science centers

The current campus tobacco policies were collected for each institution of higher education in Texas, and subsequently rated based on level of policy comprehensiveness. The policies were obtained by first visiting each institutions’ website and then contacting the school by email or phone to confirm or verify that the online policy was correct and up to date, or to obtain the policy if not available online. In instances where a college or university had multiple campuses under a single unifying system, each individual campus was contacted to identify policy discrepancies that existed among the various locations.

Ratings

Rating Scale Development

Each school’s policy was broken down into several smaller components, including whether or not school’s policy’s included traditional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), and advertising/sales was addressed comprehensively (i.e. prohibited on campus completely) in the policy.

A one through ten rating scale was developed, with higher scores/percentages indicating a more comprehensive policy. One point was awarded for each of the following areas that a school’s policy addressed comprehensively, with points being totaled to provide a school policy rating:

  • Cigarette smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas of any campus building
  • Cigarette smoking is prohibited in all campus outdoor grounds
  • Cigarette smoking is prohibited in campus-owned vehicles
  • Other tobacco products are prohibited in all indoor areas of any campus building
  • Other tobacco products are prohibited in all campus outdoor grounds
  • Other tobacco products are prohibited in campus-owned vehicles
  • ENDS are prohibited in all indoor areas of any campus building
  • ENDS are prohibited in all outdoor grounds
  • ENDS are prohibited in campus-owned vehicles
  • Prohibit sales, sponsorships, advertising, or promotional activities of tobacco on campus property

Additionally, policies for school’s who provide housing for students were assessed and determined whether the policy met all housing standards or needed improvements based on the following components:

  • Prohibited cigarette smoking in all residence or other campus owned housing
  • Prohibited tobacco use in all residence or other campus owned housing

The database can be used to identify gaps in policy and to learn more about the ideal campus tobacco to strive for. Through the implementation of 100% tobacco-free campus policies, which restrict the use of all tobacco and alternative tobacco products on school grounds, rates of use and initiation of tobacco among college and university students can be reduced. For more information on tobacco-free campus policy planning and implementation, visit our “Take Action” page.