Case Studies

Below you will find two universities, one comparable in size to University of Nebraska Kearney and in the same athletic conference (MIAA) and a bigger university comparable to the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

Pittsburg State University

pittsburgstateuniversityPittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas has achieved a tobacco-free campus by concentrating their efforts on surveys, focus groups, and open forums conducted by Pittsburg State University’s Tobacco Policy Task Force. This task force was created in November 2012 after a petition revealed overwhelming support from the student body for a tobacco free campus. PSU considered three separate recommendations to make their campus healthier for the students, faculty, and staff.

1) make no changes.
2) make the campus 100% smoke free.
3) make the campus 100% tobacco-free.

The task force opted against the first two options, as they did not provide enough protection for students and the environment. PSU’s task force suggested that the responsibility of upholding the new tobacco-free policy would be on all students, employees, and visitors, but that enforcement would be reserved for repeat offenders. The final key component to the tobacco-free proposal was that if the campus accepted the policy change, a tobacco-free campus committee or implementation team would be formed to spend six months to a year to correct any functional issues with execution (Pittsburg State, 2013).

Ohio State University

download (2)Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio has been working toward a tobacco-free campus for the past couple of years in the hopes of becoming the healthiest campus in the nation. Although Ohio State is larger than UNK, similarities can be found in the support that they received from students and the community regarding smoking policies in place prior to the proposal. In the realm of tobacco-free initiatives, Ohio State has become a leader to other Ohio college campuses, and received the 2013 bronze level health lead accreditation award by the U.S. Healthiest Workplace Accreditation Program. The following is not a guide for UNK, but an example that UNK can become 100% tobacco-free.

During the autumn semester 2012, Ohio State (OSU) began a conversation about becoming a healthier university through a tobacco-free policy after the idea was raised by many groups in the university community. The Wexner Medical Center and surrounding health science campuses have been tobacco-free since 2006, and the buildings on OSU campuses have been smoke-free since 1987. The goalwas to have a Tobacco-Free Ohio State policy in place by August 1, 2013. This conversation included meeting with 26 groups representing faculty, staff, students, and adjacent neighborhoods, and receiving feedback through email and community forums. The majority of the feedback supported a tobacco-free campus and helped shape the current proposal.

At this time…

Ohio State has officially adopted a tobacco free policy in support of a healthy environment for all members of the Buckeye Nation. Effective January 1, 2014, the use of all types of tobacco products is prohibited in all university buildings and on all university-owned properties, including parking lots, garages, and all outside areas. (The full policy can be found at

Many factors aligned to support the university moving forward with this proposal:

• Students worked with Student Life, advocating for Ohio State to go Tobacco-Free. Faculty, staff, and leaders from various colleges, units, and regional campuses have asked to go tobacco-free since the Medical Center did so in 2006.

• On July 23, 2012, the Ohio State Board of Regents passed a resolution recommending that all University System of Ohio schools go tobacco-free.

• On September 12, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a national initiative to eliminate tobacco use on college campuses.

• The State of Ohio Healthy Ohio Program and the Ohio State Board of Education support tobacco-free colleges and universities and are advocating for all campuses go tobacco-free.

• Ohio State was recently awarded the Bronze Level Health Lead Accreditation award by the U.S. Healthiest Workplace Accreditation Program.

• Tobacco-free policies and norms are effective in reducing the initiation, prevalence, and intensity of tobacco use among young adults.