Evidence-based policies are the driver for all tobacco control activities in the Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative. Existing policy measures (such as smoke-free indoor workplace policies and tobacco-free campus property policies) prove that population-based policy interventions can shape behavior to reduce tobacco use, ultimately impacting morbidity and mortality.
This past year, several institutions were involved in coalitions working on tobacco-related policies in Texas cities. Our students, faculty and staff served as educational resources and messengers. For example, in Fort Worth, Texas and Arlington, Texas, there were no comprehensive workplace ordinances in place to eliminate smoking indoors. Students, faculty and staff from UT Arlington, UT Southwestern, MD Anderson and TCU participated in campaigns to educate the community on the dangers of secondhand smoke and on the proven benefits to public health and the economy of reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in all workplaces.
In San Antonio, faculty and staff from UT Health Science Center San Antonio, UTSA and MD Anderson served as primary educational resources on the recent tobacco prevention policy that raised the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21 years old.
Campus Tobacco Task Forces
Among the key outcomes from the 2016 and 2017 summits were tobacco-free policies on all campuses and the implementation of a campus task force that oversees all tobacco-related policy, prevention education, events and cessation services.
Each UT institution’s task force looks different, and draws on different realms of expertise across their campus. Benefits to this diverse representation include increased exposure of tobacco issues on campus, enhanced stakeholder buy-in, enriched programs and services, and improved tobacco-free cultures that foster respect, caring and health.