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Recommendations of the Hampshire College Tobacco Task Force

The purpose of the spring 2011 Tobacco Task Force at Hampshire College was to bring together a representative group of Hampshire College staff, faculty, and students on campus to:

1) Evaluate the effectiveness of current smoking policy, compliance, enforcement, and cessation efforts on campus with the intention of decreasing negative consequences due to smoking for all in the campus community. Negative consequences of smoking on campus include: exposure to second-hand smoke, health issues for individuals who choose to smoke, appearance and smell of campus buildings and outdoor spaces, fire safety, and public/family relations.

2) Provide detailed policy recommendations to Marlene Fried, acting president, by May 1, 2011 including suggestions and rationale for any proposed changes in campus smoking policy, enforcement, and/or cessation efforts.

Task Force Recommendations
The task force determined that Hampshire College now has a smoking policy prohibiting smoking in all campus buildings and within 25 feet of all buildings that is not consistently followed or enforced. We recommend: 1) strong enforcement of the current policy and 2) enhanced campus-wide commitment to prevention of smoking and enhanced support for smoking cessation.

The following recommendations represent the work of the three task force sub-groups:
1) Enforcement
2) Infrastructure/Visibility
3) Prevention/Education

Summary from the Tobacco Task Force
The Tobacco Task Force was formed in response to concerns among parent, students, faculty, and staff that the health, quality of life, appearance, and smell of the campus have been adversely impacted by smoking on the Hampshire College campus. A campus-wide smoking ban would provide a clear message re smoking; however, would be unenforceable and may result in distracting backlash and more indoor smoking. After reviewing the literature and talking about campus culture, the task force decided that real change in smoking attitudes and practice would be most likely from stricter enforcement grounded in the principles of restorative justice; enhanced efforts among all departments for prevention and cessation of smoking; and small, but significant changes to the location of cigarette butt receptacles and seating on campus.

Data from the spring 2011 National College Health Assessment at Hampshire College is encouraging: 71% of Hampshire students reported they had not smoked tobacco within the last 30 days. Fewer than 10% reported smoking on a daily basis. In both the 2006 and 2009 CORE Drug and Alcohol Surveys, only 55 % of students reported not smoking tobacco within the past 30 days.

The Task Force also recommends that the Hampshire College President and dean of students appoint an “Implementation Group” comprised of members of the task force along with at least three additional students for academic year 2011-12 to help be sure that the recommendations of the task force are put into practice. The group should meet before school starts in September for planning and at least twice a semester during the next academic year.

Background Information

The Tobacco Task Force met four times during the spring semester 2011. The work included a review of current literature related to college students, smoking behavior, and policy. We looked at smoking policies from other colleges; state and local law; and the history of transition to smoke-free buildings at Hampshire. We reviewed data related to tobacco use from Hampshire College student studies (Wabash and CORE) from 2006-9 and community health studies from 2007-9 related to campus smoking policy. We discussed enforcement challenges for residential life staff; the impact of smoking upon health, campus appearance, fire safety, and cleanliness and smell of campus buildings; and available campus resources for prevention and quitting.

The current Hampshire College smoking policy states: “Smoking is prohibited in all campus buildings and within 25 feet of all buildings”.

Recognizing that many colleges are banning smoking in all inside and outside areas of campus, the task force discussed the possibility of a smoke-free campus for Hampshire College. A faculty, staff, and student survey in December 2009 found that 14% of respondents supported a campus-wide smoking ban, while 86% supported enforcement of the existing policy or allowing smoking only in designated outdoor areas. Additionally, task force members raised concerns that a campus-wide smoking ban could have the unintended consequence of increasing indoor smoking with the attendant problems of fire hazards and exposure to second-hand smoke. A 2011 article in the Journal of American College Health suggests that student smoking behaviors are minimally impacted by “smoke-free” campus policies due to poorly coordinated and supported implementation and enforcement of policies (Baile, Callaghan, Smith, 2011).

Tobacco Task Force members:
Sara Aierstuck, director, health and counseling services
Nancy Apple, director, environmental health and safety
Larry Archey, associate director, facilities and grounds
Lauren Majella Casey, Division II student
Jessica Gifford, director, Wellness Center
Christopher Jarvis, dean of the School of Natural Science, associate professor of cell biology
Katie Keating, Div III student
Linda Mollison, director, housing operations
Adam Ortiz, Dakin House director, residential life
Raeann Wentworth, assistant director of information technology
(Two additional students were appointed to the task force, one took a leave of absence for the semester and the other attended only the first meeting.)

 
 

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