E-Cigarette Policies on College Campuses: Student Use Behaviors, Awareness, and Policy Support
This study examined e-cigarette use and attitudes toward e-cigarette policies among students at colleges and universities with and without policies prohibiting e-cigarette use on campus. In April 2015, we fielded an online survey with a convenience sample of 930 students at 14 North Dakota colleges and universities. The survey included questions about e-cigarette use, observed e-cigarette use on campus, awareness of school e-cigarette policy, and support for policies prohibiting e-cigarette use on campus. Over 40 % of respondents had used e-cigarettes at least once, and most current users reported using them rarely (36 %). Nearly 29 % of respondents reported observing e-cigarette use on campus, and more than half of these reported seeing e-cigarette use indoors. More than 42 % did not know whether their school's policy prohibited e-cigarette use on campus, and students at schools with a policy were more likely to identify their campus policy correctly. Sixty-six percent of respondents were in favor of policies prohibiting e-cigarette use on campus, and those at schools with policies prohibiting e-cigarette use were more likely to support a campus e-cigarette policy. Policies prohibiting e-cigarette use on campus intend to restrict use, reduce prevalence, and shape social norms. This study indicates that support for campus e-cigarette policies is high, although awareness of whether e-cigarettes are included in college and university policies is low. These findings demonstrate the need for coordinated policy education efforts and may guide college administrators and student health services personnel as they consider how to implement and evaluate campus e-cigarette policies.