The carrot and the stick? Strategies to improve compliance with college campus tobacco policies

Amanda Fallin-Bennett, Maria Roditis, Stanton A. Glantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Tobacco-free policies are being rapidly adopted nationwide, yet compliance with these policies remains a challenge. This study explored college campus key informants' experiences with tobacco policies, and their perceived benefits, drawbacks, and outcomes. Participants: The sample for this study was 68 key informants representing 16 different California universities with varying tobacco policies (no smoking indoors and within 20 feet of entrances, designated smoking areas, 100% smoke-free, and 100% tobacco-free). Methods: Qualitative, descriptive study. Semistructured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis. Results: Strategies to improve compliance ranged from a social approach to a heavy focus on punitive enforcement. Key informants from campuses using a social approach alone reported barriers to improving compliance, including a perceived lack of efficacy of the approach. However, these campuses found it challenging to incorporate enforcement through campus police or security. Conclusions: College campus decision makers should explore using a combined approach (social approach as well as formal enforcement), with enforcement primarily the responsibility of nonpolice university channels (eg, Student Affairs, employee supervisors).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-130
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.


  • College policy
  • policy compliance
  • tobacco use
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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