Smoking-Free Policies and Smoking Behaviors among Historically Black Colleges and Universities Students in the United States

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Translational Medical Research and Public Health

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Date Added



Background: There is limited research on the impacts of smoke-free policies on students’ attitudes and smoking behaviors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. This study examined African American students’ attitudes toward differential smoke-free campus policies and their smoking behavior at two HBCUs in the Mid-Atlantic region. Methods: In this original study, 202 African American undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at two urban HBCUs participated and completed the online and in-person surveys conducted between October and December 2019. Descriptive statistics (Chi-square χ2 and t-statistics) and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine differences in smoking attitudes and behaviors by smoking-free policies. Results: One of the two surveyed HBCUs supported a comprehensive smoke-free policy (CSFP), which prohibits any tobacco use, including smoking, anywhere on campus at any time. The other HBCU followed a regular smoke-free policy (RSFP), which limits smoking to certain designated areas. The majority of students at the two schools reported that the smoke-free policy had not affected their smoking behavior. The multivariable analysis did not indicate a statistically significant association between students’ attitudes toward smoke-free policies and their smoking behavior. Furthermore, the difference in smoking prevalence between the two schools was not statistically significant by policy type. Conclusions and Implications for Translation: Smoke-free polices have the potential to educate about smoking and impact attitudes toward smoking. Implementing and enforcing a comprehensive or regular smoke-free policy is an essential initiative to ensure a healthy learning environment for students. Understanding the context-specific factors that contribute to smoking behaviors among African American students provides additional important insights into developing programs for students at HBCUs. Key words: • Comprehensive or Regular Smoke-Free Policy • Health Equity • Health Disparities • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) • Tobacco Control • Student   Copyright © 2020 Martin, Jr. et al. Published by Global Health and Education Projects, Inc. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in this journal, is properly cited.






Public Health

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Girmay, Mehrete