Smoke Free Colleges

Tobacco free campus policies are a growing trend at colleges and universities across the United States. The National Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative has resources and tools for colleges interested in tobacco free policies, and the American College Health Association has adopted a no tobacco use policy, encourages colleges to do the same, and has issued a position statement. Communities across Vermont are working with colleges on their tobacco policies. Click here for our Vermont Toolkit (coming soon).

As centers for living, working, and learning, colleges and universities can demonstrate a commitment to the health of their communities through a tobacco free campus policy.

Why are tobacco free policies good for colleges and universities?

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States (CDC).
  • The 18-24 year old demographic is the youngest age group the tobacco industry can legally target with advertising, and the tobacco industry is counting on individuals in that demographic to become addicted replacement smokers.
  • A tobacco free policy does not require anyone to quit using tobacco, but it does prohibit use while on campus. As the vast majority of adults do not use tobacco, it would require no alteration in habits for the majority of people on campus.
  • Tobacco free laws have been shown to increase cessation. The Surgeon General’s Report on Reducing Tobacco Use found that clean indoor air laws that prohibit smoking in public areas and workplaces “have been shown to decrease daily tobacco consumption and to increase smoking cessation among smokers.” (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).
  • There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, and secondhand smoke contains the same harmful chemicals and carcinogens as the smoke that is inhaled by smokers.
  • Tobacco waste is an environmental concern and costs campuses money in clean up and disposal. 

Demographics of Smoking in VT College Students (PowerPoint)

Sample Policies

Tobacco-free campus policies offer colleges and universities numerous benefits. In Vermont, tobacco-free campus policies could limit secondhand smoke exposure for large numbers of people, including the faculty and staff working on college campuses and students enrolled at the schools. Even the short-term exposure to secondhand smoke that often occurs when entering or exiting a building can be harmful and irritating, particularly to those with a preexisting lung condition such as asthma. Comprehensive tobacco-free campus policies send a clear message that tobacco use on campus is not acceptable while creating a completely smoke-free and tobacco-free environment.

Smoke Free Campus Sample Policy

Tobacco Free Campus Sample Policy


The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont recommends the following online resources to stakeholders pursuing tobacco-free or smoke-free college campus policies. In addition to visiting these links, stakeholders are encouraged to take advantage of direct support and technical assistance provided by the state of Vermont. For more information, email

National Tobacco Free Campus Initaitive

Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights

ACHA Tobacco Free Campus Position Statement

Tobacco Free U

American Lung Association