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Students’ perceptions of a university ‘No Smoking’ policy and barriers to implementation: a cross- sectional study

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-03-15, 11:52 and posted on 2023-07-13, 10:31 authored by Ghadir Fakhri Al-Jayyousi, Rana Kurdi, Shahd Alsaei, Haya AL-Kaabi, Al Jaziya Alrushdi, Hanan F Abdul Rahim

Objectives 

Effective policies are an important tool for reducing tobacco use. We examine student perceptions of the existing no-smoking policy in the country’s largest national university and identify perceived barriers to its implementation. We explore student support for a 100% tobacco-free campus policy.

Design 

We conducted a cross-sectional survey using a self-administered on-line questionnaire.

Setting 

This study was conducted at Qatar University (QU), the largest national institution of higher education in Qatar.

Participants 

A total of 199 students participated out of a stratified random sample of students aged ≥18 years with active registration in the Spring 2020 semester.

Primary and secondary outcome measures 

We assessed students’ knowledge of and attitudes towards QU’s current no-smoking policy, the perceived barriers to its implementation, and support for a 100% tobacco-free policy.

Results 

Only 26% (95% CI 19.97 to 32.03) and 16.6% (95% CI 11.70 to 22.49) of respondents correctly identified the current policy on traditional and electronic cigarettes, respectively. Less than 30% of respondents held positive attitudes towards policy enforcement, and more male respondents reported positive attitudes towards compliance than women. Support for a 100% tobacco-free policy was at 77.2%, but it was significantly lower among tobacco users compared with non-users (35.9% and 91.8%, respectively; p<0.001). Failure to establish clear penalties, opposition from smoking students, and lack of cessation services were perceived as major barriers to implementation.

Conclusions 

Clear and comprehensive tobacco-free policies are important tools for creating environments conducive to rejecting smoking and seeking cessation support. The findings underscore the need to increase awareness about the policy, advocate for clear penalties for violations, and promote cessation services on campus. Qualitative research is needed to further understand perceived barriers to successful enforcement of the policy.

Other information

Published in: BMJ Open
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0
See article on publisher's website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-043691

Funding

Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

BMJ

Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • Qatar University Health - QU
  • College of Health Sciences - QU HEALTH

Geographic coverage

Qatar

Usage metrics

    Qatar University

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