The profound and detrimental effects of tobacco use are well-documented and have resulted in tobacco being classified as a major public health issue in the United States. Furthermore, many investigations have shown that well-orchestrated tobacco industry marketing schemes have negatively impacted college students. In an effort to address this significant public health issue, well-planned intervention and evaluation protocols are needed to meet the needs of diverse settings and audiences. To this end, The BACCHUS Network™ has developed an environmental scan to help campuses determine tobacco issues of greatest importance.
Why Conduct a Tobacco Scan?
College campuses have student/faculty/staff combinations and environments that make this particular setting unique. In order to effectively address this important health issue, the ways in which tobacco use is supported or deterred on campus must be identified. The Campus Tobacco Environmental Scan can help in tobacco programming efforts by:
- Identifying gaps in campus policy
- Identifying environmental markers related to the support and use of tobacco products
- Identifying high priority areas for tobacco programming
- Identifying the quality of current tobacco prevention/cessation activities
Environmental Scan Overview
The Environmental Scan is separated into three sections, plus an optional supplement. The sections measure a variety of factors related to tobacco prevention and cessation on a college campus by using yes/no questions. The first section reviews campus tobacco policies. The second section measures the degree of involvement in tobacco control by campus services and organizations. The third section considers the general campus environment and the areas close to campus in relation to tobacco. Therefore, issues such as visibility of tobacco use and access to tobacco products are reviewed. The supplemental section considers individual views toward tobacco.
Using the Survey
In general, the Environmental Scan works best if one person or a small group of people is answering the questions. Most of the questions require a definitive answer on whether or not a policy or service exists. Therefore, you will want to know for sure in order to move forward with your tobacco control goals.
We suggest assigning the task to a volunteer or subcommittee within the Campus Tobacco Task Force. The information learned from the scan will help the group establish a vision, goals and objectives. If you would like to speed up the process, try dividing the sections of the scan among various people on the task force. Just make sure that each person confirms answers to the questions, rather than assuming.
Obtaining the Survey
The Campus Tobacco Environmental Scan and the Tobacco Use and Attitudes Survey are included in the S.T.E.P. By STEP resource manual. Purchasing the manual gives you permission to reproduce and use the survey for purposes of studying your campus. To order the S.T.E.P. By STEP manual, visit our Materials Center.