woman in work parking lot in a coat and scarf smoking a cigarette

This toolkit provides guidance for implementing a tobacco-free campus (TFC) initiative that includes a policy and comprehensive cessation services for employees. It is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) experience with implementing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tobacco-Free HHS initiative.

Health Challenge

Worldwide, tobacco use results in nearly 5 million deaths per year. If current trends continue, it is predicted that tobacco use will cause more than 10 million deaths annually by the year 2020. Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is responsible for an estimated 438,000 deaths per year, or about one out of every five deaths.

Policies establishing smoke-free environments are the most effective way to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. Evidence has shown that smoke-free policies in enclosed workplace settings are associated with reduced daily cigarette consumption among employees and possibly with increased cessation among employees.

The benefits of smoke- or tobacco-free campus policies that also apply to outdoor workplace settings have been much less thoroughly researched, probably because these policies are a relatively new development. One recent study found that the implementation of a smoke-free campus policy in an office workplace that already had a smoke-free policy for indoor settings was associated with an increase in quit rates and a reduction in daily cigarette consumption among continuing smokers.

Unlike smoke-free indoor policies, tobacco-free campus policies are not solely designed to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Rather, tobacco-free campus policies are also intended to encourage employees to improve their health by quitting the use of tobacco products. Tobacco-free campuses create work environments in which tobacco users find it easier to reduce their consumption or quit altogether.

Establishing a tobacco-free campus provides employers with an opportunity to communicate a consistent pro-health message, project a positive image, and reduce tobacco-related healthcare costs. Providing cessation benefits (coverage for counseling and medications) in conjunction with the policy supports the quitting process.

Toolkit Components

This toolkit describes how others in workplaces can plan and implement a tobacco-free campus policy and evaluate its success. The toolkit describes the following project phases:

  • Assessing Need and Interest
  • Planning
  • Promotion
  • Implementation
  • Evaluating Success