Research into smoking at Otago
Researchers in the University's Department of Preventive and Social Medicine recently undertook a survey estimating smoking prevalence among staff and students as well as levels of support for a smoke-free Dunedin campus.
The survey found that around 80% of staff and students supported a smoke-free campus.
The findings have been published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. The abstract appears below.
Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 02-May-2014, Vol 127 No 1393
Attitudes towards smokefree campus policies in New Zealand
Louise Marsh, Lindsay A Robertson, Claire Cameron
Aim This study examines the level of support for a completely smokefree campus policy and other smokefree policy initiatives amongst staff and students at a New Zealand University.
Methods Attitudes to smoking on campus, smokefree campus policies, implementation and enforcement of smokefree policies were assessed using an online survey of 332 staff and 268 students; giving a response rate of 51% from staff and 41% from students.
Results Most participants had never smoked, or were past smokers; few reported being current smokers. Participants agreed that exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful, disliked being exposed to second-hand smoke on campus, and felt the university should promote a healthy work and study environment. Results indicated strong support for smokefree policies, and participants made several recommendations regarding smokefree policies. Most disagreed that compliance with a smokefree policy should be voluntary, but felt that campus security should warn people who breach the policy.
Conclusions These results provide a sound basis for university administrators to implement smokefree policies. While around half of the tertiary education institutions in New Zealand already have a completely smokefree campus policy, greater adoption of this policy by tertiary education institutions would foster realisation of the government’s goal that New Zealand become a smokefree nation by 2025.
A potential barrier preventing tertiary education institutions working towards a smokefree campus is a perceived risk of opposition from staff and students. Our study found strong support for smokefree campus policies; these findings should encourage other universities, polytechnics and other tertiary education providers to adopt full campus smokefree policies.