Attitudes, Perceptions, and Support of Student Leaders for a Tobacco-Free Campus Policy at the University of Washington: A Pilot Qualitative Study
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Background: Tobacco-free campus policies (TFCPs) have been widely implemented across the US with remarkable success. However, the University of Washington (UW) has yet to implement such a policy due to unknown student leader attitudes and perceptions regarding policy implementation. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 15 student leaders during April 2016. Student leaders were asked about their perceptions of the current UW tobacco policy, thoughts of implementing a TFCP, and options for equitable implementation. A content analysis was conducted and key themes were identified. Results: Nine key themes were identified from the most common responses from interviews with student leaders. Recommendations that include engaging community input and a transparent enforcement plan for TFCP were generated based on the input from student leaders along with evidence-based best practices. Conclusions: The majority of student leaders personally support the implementation of a TFCP at the UW. Concerns regarding discrimination were raised, but were addressed through provisions and stakeholder engagement prior to implementation. Findings from this study have potential implications for other university settings that are experiencing barriers to implement a TFCP.
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