How to End Smoking on a Smoke-Free Campus

How to End Smoking on a Smoke-Free Campus

On college campuses, the sights are often predictable: school colors, packed libraries before finals, and now, an increasing number of vape/smoke-free campus signs.

As of 2023, over 2,600 campuses in the U.S. have implemented tobacco-free policies, up from 1,816 in 2017, with many more following suit thanks to Truth Initiative’s tobacco/vape-free college program.

Students are often the focus of these kinds of college initiatives. However, when a campus goes tobacco-free, it’s critical to remember that the policy impacts everyone, including employees.

Helping your workforce quit tobacco not only benefits their health and well-being, but also boosts employee productivity and healthcare cost savings.

Vaping and smoking in colleges: A bigger problem than you think

HR benefits professionals at universities may not think employee tobacco use is a big issue, but survey data say otherwise.

According to Truth Initiative research, 75% of education employees are bothered by vaping at work, with 84% agreeing that it’s harmful to their health.

Chart showing the percentage of employees bothered by vaping at work, by industry with education being the highest at 75%

Additionally, almost three-quarters of education employees reported seeing coworkers take breaks to vape, and one in four reported seeing coworkers vaping indoors.

74% of people in education see coworkers take breaks to vape or use e-cigarettes and 25% see coworkers vaping or using e-cigarettes indoors..

Across all forms of tobacco—including vapes and cigarettes—approximately 9% of all employees in the education sector use tobacco; however, the percentage of tobacco users in certain segments of a university’s workforce trend higher.  In food services, for example, 24.5% of employees use tobacco, while in administrative support 27% of staff use tobacco.

While creating a tobacco-free campus is a critical step toward creating a healthier environment, offering easy-access quit support to all employees is equally crucial.

How to end smoking, vaping, and nicotine use on campuses

To effectively end tobacco use, offering tailored, evidence-based quit support to all university employees is a must.

To do this, EX Program by Truth Initiative is your best strategic partner. Our program has a 52% quit rate among employers using our best practices. Plus, our strategic Client Success team are experts at tailoring plans for each client that enroll and engage individuals in stopping tobacco use.

To see details about how we can help, please visit our Employers page. Or complete a Contact Us form to start a conversation and schedule a demo today.

Jessie Saul, Ph.D.

Director, Strategic Insights

Dr. Jessie Saul brings 19 years of experience in research, program evaluation, and strategic implementation around tobacco cessation. She applies this deep understanding to improve EX Program performance and reduce tobacco use among populations. She earned her Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University.

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