Student Experiences With Community-Based Enforcement Of A Smoke-Free University

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher Seitz PhD., Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: A common approach to enforcing a university smoke-free policy is through “community-based” enforcement, in which the entire campus community is responsible for asking smokers in violation to abide by the policy. The purpose of the study was to explore university students’ experiences with this strategy of enforcing a smoke-free policy. A total of 43 undergraduate students were interviewed regarding their experiences and opinions of community enforcement. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using phenomenological methods, in which six major themes emerged from the data: Fear (alarm that smokers might respond with verbal insults orphysical violence), Situational (enforcing the policy depended on violators’ distance, group settings, strangers vs. peers), Protect Image (not wanting to be viewed as annoying, judgmental, or offensive), Lack of Authority (feeling a lack of authority to enforce the smoking policy), Compassion (empathy that violators smoke due to physical/emotional needs), and Enforcer (willingness to confront a policy violator). These findings reflected previous studies regarding people’s fear to ask a smoker to extinguish a cigarette, feelings of a lack of authority, and so on. The study demonstrated that using only a community-based approach to enforcement may not be a realistic responsibility to impose on an entire campus community.

Additional Information

Seitz, C. M., & Ragsdale, T. L. (2018). Student Experiences With Community-Based Enforcement of a Smoke-Free University. Health Promotion Practice. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2018
smoking, policy, university, enforcement

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