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Implementing the Initiative

The two main components of a tobacco-free campus initiative — the policy and the expanded employee cessation services — may be implemented simultaneously or sequentially. Ideally, the expanded cessation services should be initiated some time before the policy goes into effect. This gives employees time to prepare for the policy, "softens" the announcement of the policy by making clear that the worksite is taking a supportive, nonpunitive stance towards employees who use tobacco, and gives employees an incentive to make use of the additional cessation services. Whether you launch the two components of the TFC initiative simultaneously or successively, the following suggestions will help you implement the initiative:

Offering Cessation Services

photo of signs on displayApproaches to implementing the cessation services component of the TFC initiative will vary from one organization to the next, depending on the needs of your employees, the types of services you plan to provide, and the channels through which these services will be made available (e.g., onsite clinics, health plans, your state quitline). Your communication plan should reflect all of these factors. Assure that cessation support is in place and that employees are aware of it. Even with FDA-approved, effective cessation treatment, not everyone is successful in quitting on the first attempt, so consider developing your benefits to support at least two quit attempts per year. Maintain records on the number of employees who have accessed the services, how many of these employees have tried to quit, and how many employees have succeeded in quitting after six months.

Announcing the Policy

If the planning committee decides to implement the cessation services before the policy has been implemented, consider announcing that the policy is on its way at the same time that you announce the new services. The announcement should come from top management.

Decide on a date when the policy will take effect, allowing for sufficient lead time (at least nine months and preferably longer) to carry out the communication plan(s). If possible, avoid having the policy take effect at a time of cold or inclement weather. Consider scheduling the policy implementation to take advantage of publicity opportunities such as the American Cancer Society's Great American Smoke-Out® each November, World No Tobacco Day each May, and New Year's resolutions at the beginning of each year.

Regardless of the time of year, begin promotion of the new policy at least two months before it takes effect. Consider holding a series of countdown events. Send out periodic reminders to employees in the period leading up to the date the policy takes effect. Send out one final announcement, from top management, immediately before the policy takes effect.

On the day that the policy takes effect, hold one or more high-profile events featuring top management. These events should have a positive spin, emphasizing the policy's benefits for employees' health and publicizing the expanded cessation services that are being made available.

Creating a Supportive Environment

photo of posted signsWork closely with building management personnel to establish a campus environment that conveys a consistent tobacco-free message. This includes removing smoking shelters and cigarette butt receptacles and installing signage. If possible, have the signs in place by the time the policy goes into effect. The signs should be placed at all vehicle and pedestrian entrances in order to notify employees and visitors that they are entering a tobacco-free campus. If signs cannot be installed in time, consider using temporary banners until they become available. Place decals on building doors stating that buildings are tobacco-free.

Enforcing the Policy

In the weeks before the policy takes effect, management should clearly communicate to supervisors and security officials their role in enforcing the policy, including specific guidance on how to correct noncompliance. Consider training supervisors and security officials in enforcement procedures, handling or filing complaints, and conflict management.

Monitor enforcement to make sure that the policy is being applied in an equitable manner that does not single out or exempt any particular groups of employees.

Suggest that top management officials walk through campus areas, especially areas where employees have traditionally smoked in the past, during the first few days after the policy takes effect as a visible show of support for the policy.

Monitoring a TFC

Once all components of the TFC initiative have been implemented, carefully monitor the implementation process to identify any pockets of noncompliance, areas of confusion, or other problems. Clarify policy provisions and adjust implementation and enforcement procedures as necessary. Document lessons learned.

Closely monitor employee comments. This information can help you identify broad issues that need to be addressed. Respond to employee comments, suggestions, and concerns in a timely, thoughtful manner that shows you are taking them seriously. Incorporate answers to recurring questions into the frequently asked questions document.

Focus attention and communication efforts on locations where employees have been accustomed to using tobacco products. Make sure the policy is being applied on all shifts.

Debrief the planning committee and assign duties for ongoing activities related to providing cessation services, responding to employee questions and comments, and evaluating the TFC initiative. Meet with management and report on lessons learned, the results of process and outcome evaluations, and ongoing activities. Actively maintaining unconditional top management support for the initiative is crucial.

If free services are provided by your organization, report on utilization as a strategy for continuing to promote the services.

Next Steps

After your TFC initiative has been implemented, begin evaluation of the program. This will help refine the initiative, and promotion of the results can reinforce the TFC policy and use of available cessation services.

TFC Example Tools

CDC’s Door Decal
tobacco door decal - Tobacco Free Facility

CDC’s Campus Banners
CDC's campus banner

CDC’s Campus Signs
CDC's campus signs for parking decks and pedestiran entrances

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