Tobacco Free Campus Guide

Tobacco-free Campus Guide

Tobacco-free campus guide is a publication of the Consortium For Tobacco Free India ( CTFI) is an Initiative of the Foundation for Sustainable Health India ( FSHI) The CTFI) is a coalition for Health care, educational and other civil society organisation/ agencies in India of the government and non-government sectors. 

The Purpose

The aim of the guide is to enable and empower institutions in various segments of the society to contribute to the larger goal of Tobacco Tree India (TFI). To achieve the goal of TFI the guide provides information drawn from various experiences of tobacco free campuses.  This guide gives an outline on how to develop, implement monitor and evaluate a comprehensive tobacco free campus. 

The guidelines will enable the authorities concerned to specially address the following areas:

  • Protection from second-hand smoke and a ban on the use of all forms of tobacco within the campus except within designated smoking areas (DSAs) if feasible.
  • Not to allow sales and promotion tobacco products on campus
  • Adhere to the ethically and socially responsible mandatory standard or core principle that ensures   neither the institutions nor the staff and students have any association with the Tobacco Industry or receive any benefits. 
  • Create awareness on harmful effects tobacco among all sectors within the campus

Need for a Tobacco Free Campus Policy

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises Tobacco use and the problems arising out it as a global pandemic. Hence called for first ever public health treaty on any public health issues in the history of WHO know as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which provides guidelines for addressing problems by the member nations.  Article 8 of FCTC gives guidelines for protection health of the non-smokers.   section-4 of Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 in India bans smoking in all public places which includes all places visited by general public namely auditorium, hospital building, railway waiting room, amusement centres, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, coffee houses, canteens, banks, clubs and also open spaces surrounding hotels/restaurants etc. 

It is equally important to protect people from hazards arising out spitting due to smokeless tobacco use. Prohibiting spit tobacco use (as in TFC policies) help in preventing spitting, which is highly undesirable in a hospital campus. Many health care institution campuses and university campuses are already tobacco-free across the globe. Once tobacco free campus policy is place, rules are framed and enforced the patients and their care givers and other visitors to the campus are accustomed to these norms and abide.

What is a tobacco-free campus policy? 

A tobacco free campus policy protects non-smokers from involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS). It further helps in in maintaining the campus clean and free from the menace of spitting due to chewing tobacco.  A tobacco-free campus policy includes protection from SHS, a ban on the use of any type of tobacco products on campus and provides protection from social exposure to tobacco products.  Preventing exposure to tobacco is important for eliminating visual and sensory cues which is important for preventing younger population attracted to use tobacco products, helping ex-tobacco users  stay off tobacco products, and helping tobacco users to quit. As such, a tobacco-free policy should be recognized as part of a broader policy to improve the overall health and well-being of staff, students, patients, care givers and other visitors.

Benefits of a comprehensive Tobacco Free Campus policy 

A comprehensive tobacco free campus policy will ensure the following benefits: 

  • A safer and healthier environment for everyone. 
  • A cleaner environment with reduced risk of fire indoors and out
  • Reduced risk of legal action over involuntary exposure to SHS; and 
  • An enhanced institutional profile as a socially responsible role model.

Key elements of a tobacco-free policy 

  1. A 100% smoke and tobacco-free campus except for Designated Smoking Area (DSA) if feasible 
  2. The provision and promotion of cessation resources and services to all students, faculty, campus staff, patients and care givers and other visitors 
  3. A ban on tobacco advertising, promotions, and sales on campus
  4. A ban on tobacco industry funding for research projects, grants, student scholarships and any other type of arrangement or association.
  5. A ban on companies that manufacture or sell tobacco participating in campus activities
  6. The divestment of tobacco industry stock by the institution if held.

Steps to a tobacco-free campus policy 

Step 1: Develop the policy


Ideally, someone from within the administration will champion the issue and help to start the process with a goal of TFC, a timeline, and a directive to bring all stakeholders together as a committee. For the creation of a tobacco-free campus policy, stakeholders should be represented by the administration and all the sections operating with the campus. 

Develop a policy and get it approved 

A draft given below may be considered for developing the policy. Get the policy approved after the deliberations with all stakeholders concerned.  Determine who will be responsible for enforcement and how it will be carried out. Decide on penalization measures for violations. Develop an overall implementation plan with a timeline and communication strategy and monitoring and evaluation plan. 

Announce the policy 

Before announcing the new policy to all the sections and departments, a meeting  with senior and mid-level managers is desirable to inform them of the following: 

  • How information will be communicated to all the sections and departments concerned (e.g., signage, notices, website, intranet, newsletters, policy manuals, internal TV monitors). 
  • Responsibilities of staff and students; and 
  • What key messages need to be emphasized (e.g., what action to take when someone violates) how the policy will be enforced).

Draft Policy Outline

TOBACCO-FREE POLICY FOR ___________________________________

RATIONALE ______________________is committed to the prevention of illness and injury through the provision and maintenance of healthy and safe conditions on its premises and due diligence in its activities Institution  also recognizes its responsibility not to facilitate tobacco use or to support, in any manner, the tobacco industry in the sale and promotion of addictive, lethal products. 

PURPOSE The purpose of this policy is, in part, to: 

  • Provide physical protection from second-hand tobacco smoke and protection from social exposure to tobacco products. 
  • Provide and promote smoking cessation support; and 
  • Prevent smoking and tobacco use initiation, and to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle. 


All campus properties are tobacco-free: workplaces, lecture halls, corridors, residences, dining rooms, washrooms, sports fields, assembly areas, building entrances as well as vehicles owned, rented, or leased by the institution. If tobacco use is permitted, it shall be limited to outdoor designated smoking areas.

 OUTDOOR DESIGNATED SMOKING AREAS (DSAs) Except in outdoor DSAs, smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco are prohibited on campus, including all properties and vehicles owned, rented, or leased by .  _______________

ENFORCEMENT After an educational implementation period, the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy will be enforced by staff using warnings, signage, and fines. 

SALE AND PROMOTION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS  the Institution prohibits the promotion, advertising, or sale of any tobacco products or related paraphernalia on [University/College] owned, rented, or leased property. In addition, and in accordance with the federal Tobacco Act, corporate tobacco sponsorship of [University/College] events or groups is prohibited. 

PROVISION AND PROMOTION OF CESSATION RESOURCES AND SERVICES Evidence-based cessation support services will be provided and promoted on campus. 

PARTICIPATION OF TOBACCO COMPANIES IN JOB RECRUITMENT FAIRS Companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell tobacco products are excluded from participating in campus career fairs and other recruitment activities. 

FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH TOBACCO COMPANIES the Institution will not knowingly accept funding or other forms of support, including research grants, staff positions, or student scholarships, from tobacco companies or from any agencies or foundations in which the tobacco industry has an influence, either directly or indirectly. 

INVESTMENTS IN TOBACCO COMPANIES the institution will not invest, directly or indirectly, in any tobacco company. Where the institution owns tobacco assets, divestment of such assets will take place by [date]. Signed and dated by management

Step 2: Implement the policy

Announce the policy and the timeline for implementation to staff, students, on-campus retailers, contractors, and/or relevant leaseholders. Ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to monitor and respond to feedback throughout the implementation process. Implement the communications plan with messages that include: 

  • Rationale for the policy, including health effects of exposure to SHS; 
  • The percentage of young adults who smoke, based on your campus survey results or the latest GYTS data for people in your state
  • Timeline for implementation; and 
  • Availability of advice and help for smokers who want to quit. Make copies of the policy available for staff and students, and take every opportunity to communicate the policy through all available channels, including student and staff handbooks, the institutions website, etc. Simple messages for inclusion in staff and student orientation materials together with tobacco cessation information will help to drive home the importance of the policy and cooperation of all concerned. 

Consider using handouts the size of business cards to facilitate education and enforcement of tobacco-free and/or smoke-free areas. Such cards provide information about the location of designated smoking areas (if applicable) as well as information about tobacco cessation services and support.

Step 3: Monitor and evaluate the policy

Promote a campus contact telephone line and email address so that students and staff can provide feedback or submit complaints. Monitor and respond to input from staff, students, and visitors—especially on implementation and enforcement questions. Identify areas of non-compliance or confusion and make sure the policy is being applied equitably. If compliance is high, the policy may become self-enforcing over time. 

  1. Evaluate the policy. Key indicators of success may include: 
  • Compliance by user groups (observed behaviour). 
  • Awareness of location of DSAs or other components of the policy (among smokers and non-smokers, staff, and students). 
  • Perception of enforcement. 
  • Reduction of complaints. 
  • Reports by campus security, or grounds maintenance. 
  • Impact of the policy on tobacco use among different groups (e.g., students, staff, males, females, various age groups). 
  • Objectives met; and
  • Level of support for potential future enhancements to the policy.