Most agencies are now considering Tobacco-Free Campuses, and environmental changes to discourage or end smoking use generally take three forms:
- Tobacco-Free Campus For Everyone – in buildings, cars, and on the campus grounds.
- Tobacco-Free Campus for Staff Only and Restricted Use for Patients.
- Restricted Tobacco Use for everyone, identifying a few locations with low visibility. Provide clear signage for no-smoking and smoking areas. Encourage wellness and discourage tobacco use through signage and related health promotion and education activities.
Environmental changes are aimed at eliminating or reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals associated with smoking tobacco. Environmental Tobacco Smoke also shortens life spans, can cause immediate serious consequences to those who had a recent heart attack, and can be a powerful trigger for those trying to quit smoking.
A Tobacco-Free Campus for all is best for promoting wellness and recovery. Patient and staff goals can still be achieved if this option is not chosen, but success is greatly facilitated by the context of a Tobacco-Free Campus.
Task 1. Develop strategies and tactics to match one of the three campus / outside environmental goals described above.
The Environmental Scan provides a map of your campus and where smoking use and signage currently exists. Set a date for the Tobacco-Free Campus that is realistic (if this is your goal). Sometimes there is no time for a phased-in change due to external policy mandates (often from the State, County, or City). Will tobacco use be limited to specific locations? Determine where and how to make smoking less visible. To whom will the policy apply? How will the policy be monitored and what are the consequences for noncompliance? Develop an educational communication effort first, link it with recovery support, and develop a due process to manage noncompliance, working closely with Human Resources and Unions when possible.
Task 2. Communicate changes in this area to staff, patients, and others as appropriate.
As soon as the date to implement partial or complete tobacco-free grounds is determined, inform staff, clients, and other facility users of the change through the formal and informal channels. Develop and document a Communication Plan.
Task 3. Implement messaging to promote wellness and tobacco addiction recovery inside the buildings of your agency.
State laws may require agencies to have smoke-free buildings. If your agency is not in compliance with applicable laws, this is a critical issue to address. Provide signage and messaging within the building to communicate wellness and promote recovery, promoting outside resources (Quit Lines, Nic A) and agency resources (group treatments, Nic A, medication support, etc). Create posters, brochures, handouts, memos to staff, publicity for programs, and program newsletters. You will also want to change the agency website to reinforce the desired change, influence motivation, and raise awareness.
Task 4. Track progress in this work area and adjust the plan as needed.
It is important to actively solicit feedback from members of work groups and others carrying out changes so that you can track progress and adjust the plan as needed.