Students playing music in front of greenhouse

Smoking Prevention and Education Recommendations

A. Cessation support for students AND faculty and staff including:

Rationale: Over 25% of Hampshire smokers state they want to quit. Support to community members who want to quit will help reduce the number of smokers on campus.

  • Free cessation counseling based on motivational interviewing practices provided to students by professional staff at health services, and coordinated through human resources for employees.
    Cost: No additional cost other than staff time to train, plan, and deliver counseling services.
  • Free quit kits available to any community member attempting to quit.
    Cost: $500 annually for students and $500 for employees.
  • Free over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (patches/gum) offered to students, faculty and staff when therapeutically indicated, contingent upon participating in cessation counseling and follow-up.
    Cost: $80 per person for a 6 week course of treatment.
  • Quitting Buddies program: the likelihood of following through on health goals increases with a partner. Help quitters connect with each other for support.

B. First Year Orientation and Pre-Entry Focus on Prevention and Cessation

Rationale: Wabash data from 2006-9 indicates that 22% of incoming students report smoking before coming to Hampshire. At the end of the first year: 9 % started smoking, 8 % stopped smoking, and 83% did not change. First year students at Hampshire College are entering a new social context in which smoking seems normative. Smoking students initially may be prepared to accommodate their smoking behavior to conform to campus policy; however, witnessing others disregarding these regulations without consequence can alter subsequent smoking practice. Orientation leaders and interns are in the best position to influence first year students to not only not start smoking, but also to cut back or quit altogether.

  • Prominently feature posters and brochures re smoking prevention and smoking cessation resources on campus as part of pre-entry e-mails, first year student newsletter, family blog, registration day, orientation, and family weekend.
  • Make "Quit Packs" available at all first year resource fairs and events.
  • Train orientation leaders and interns on campus resources.

Cost: No additional cost other than staff time to develop resources and coordinate campus resources. Quit pack costs were noted above.

C. Social Norms Campaign:

Rationale: To correct misperceptions regarding smoking and reduce perceived peer/environmental pressure to smoke and to heighten awareness of negative attitudes toward smoking and decrease smoking, particularly indoors.

  • Advertise percentage of smokers and non-smokers: students overestimate the number of smokers on campus and non-smokers may feel they are a minority, when in fact they are the majority
  • Survey students on smoking attitudes and advertise the results: many smokers believe their behavior doesn't impact anyone other than themselves. A poster campaign regarding students' preferences to live and socialize in a smoke-free environment, date non-smokers, etc. could correct these impressions.
  • Quitter's wall of fame: create a positive social norm by highlighting a "Quitter of the Month" in the Airport Lounge.

Cost: $700 annually for posters, stickers, door hangers etc

D. Curriculum Infusion:

The goal of curriculum infusion is to insert health-related information into existing courses and, in some cases, to introduce new courses that will focus on some aspect of health and health related behaviors. Faculty has the opportunity to impact student attitudes and behaviors toward tobacco use. Students are often more focused and attentive in the classroom and these efforts may be able to have significant impacts. There is well documented evidence that directed classroom teaching can affect health behaviors including smoking. These programs are more effective when an interdisciplinary approach is used that takes into account diverse aspects including peer groups, family, media and advertising, as well as health effects. There is also suggestive evidence that teaching about diet, exercise, and smoking as interrelated will also prove more effective.

Hampshire College has a thirty day smoking rate of 29%, substantially higher than the American College Health Association (ACHA) Reference Group rate of 16%. Rates of smoking among some academic subgroups are higher nationally than other subgroups. The highest rates of smoking are among students in theater, art, and film, popular areas of focus at Hampshire College.

An effective approach to reducing smoking on campus should involve the faculty. The school deans agreed to talk with faculty about infusing the curriculum with some information about smoking each semester. We will need creative approaches to reach the students. We suggest that a subgroup of interested faculty meet to discuss potential approaches and to report on successes and failures in their respective school meetings.

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