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Community College Smoke free Policies: Disparities, Contexts and Strategies

Institution: Public Health Institute
Investigator(s): Camillia Lui,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29KT0530 Award: $948,641
Subject Area: State and Local Tobacco Control Policy Research
Award Type: New Investigator Awards

Initial Award Abstract
At the 2013 Health Equity Summit of the California Tobacco Control Program, establishing tobacco-free campuses at community colleges (CCs) was recognized as a top priority to reduce tobacco-related health disparities. California (CA) State Assembly Bill 1594 would have instantly achieved the state's Health Equity priority to ban smoking and tobacco use in CCs, but the governor vetoed this bill in 2016. As of 2018, only 52 of the 114 CC campuses in CA have 100% smoke-free or tobacco-free policies, in stark contrast to CA's 4-year public colleges which are all 100% tobacco-free. Recognizing that CCs are often more under-resourced and under-funded than 4-year colleges and that the CC student population is racially/ethnically diverse, disproportionately lower-income, and at greater risk for tobacco-related harms than other college students, it is vital to elucidate factors influencing CC adoption of smoke-free policies and to identify best strategies to facilitate smoke-free policy adoption at remaining CCs. Doing so is an important step towards achieving the state's Health Equity goal of reducing tobacco-related disparities. Importantly, as most CCs are commuter campuses with little-to-no campus housing, this study looks beyond the campus to the community context in which CCs are situated, and the tobacco environment it presents. This TRDRP New Investigator Study will examine both campus and community influences on smoke-free policy adoption in CCs. This study will involve various research methods, including analyses of tobacco control policy databases, school administrative records, survey data, Census and other types of data, along with case studies of 10 CCs that include key informant interviews and site visits. Study findings will point to influential factors that may be intervened upon, and successful strategies that have been used, to facilitate the adoption of smoke-free policy at CA CCs. Findings of this nature can help with efforts to overcome institutional and other barriers to smoke-free policy adoption at the 62 CCs that have not yet committed to a 100% smoke-free campus, and can point to more effective environmental strategies to reduce tobacco-related disparities.