Smoke-free college and university campuses

Scotland’s colleges and universities can make practical changes to create smoke-free campuses. In doing so they can gain recognition and create learning environments that support physical and mental wellbeing and prevent ill health.

Creating a smoke-free culture on campus is central to institution’s duty of care towards all students and staff and supports wider goals such as improving attainment, student retention and improving outcomes.

The resources below take institutions step-by-step through the process of delivering a smoke-free campus policy. They have been designed to inspire positive changes on campus and support institutions to improve student and staff wellbeing.

Smoke-free campus resources

Developing a smoke-free policy that promotes health and wellbeing takes time. It is important to plan enough time at each stage of the process to prepare for change. Our step-by-step approach  can guide you through the process of implementing a smoke-free campus policy.

Microsoft Word versions of these resources are available on request please contact us.

Getting started

Our smoke-free campuses – getting started’ resource quickly explains the benefits and rationale of smoke-free campuses and helps dispel any uncertainty around the term ‘smoke-free’.

ASH Scotland’s five step guide to smoke-free campuses is also a useful starting point for institutions just beginning to review their current situation and considering moving towards a smoke-free campus.

There are key steps in the process of developing and implementing a new smoke-free campus policy. This key milestones process map highlights the key steps involved.

1. Planning & Review

2. Consultation

3. Preparation

4. Communicate

5. Preparing the Grounds

6. Launch

“Creating a smoke-free culture on campus supports wider goals such as improving wellbeing, attainment, student retention and improving outcomes.”

1. Planning & Review

Developing a smoke-free policy that promotes health and wellbeing takes time. It is important to plan enough time at each stage of the process to prepare for change. Our step-by-step approach guides you through the process of implementing a smoke-free campus policy.

Resource: Cross campus working group

Whether reviewing an existing smoke-free policy or developing a new one, the process should be supported by a cross campus working group. Involving the right people from the outset will help to  share responsibilities and achieve buy-in at all levels.

Our guide to establishing a cross-campus working group, also includes a workshop facilitation guide.

Resource: Project plan

This template project plan helps you include key actions, timescales, specific responsibilities and the resources required for each aspect of introducing the smoke-free policy.

You can adapt the plan to suit your institution’s priorities and timescales.

2. Consultation

It is vital that the whole college or university community have the opportunity to share their views on the proposed changes on campus. Delivering a robust consultation process will inform and build support for your smoke-free campus policy.

Resource: Consultation templates

Our consultation guide includes template surveys and focus group questions.

3. Preparation

Find templates and guidance for writing your smoke-free policy below. Remember to integrate smoke-free policy principles into existing policies, communication and procedures. 

Resource: Policy template

The smoke-free campus policy template will to help you structure your policy and simply set out a clear and consistent approach to changing smoking culture on campus.

Resource: Policy summary template

It’s useful to create a shorter easy-to-read version of your policy for students, staff and visitors.

Here are examples produced by Ayrshire College and City of Glasgow College. 

Resource: Electronic cigarettes

There are some specific considerations for college and universities where it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping.

Download our brief guide on e-cigs and vapes for college and university campuses to help you shape your approach.

4. Communicate

Communication is the key to a successful smoke-free policy. By communicating the policy effectively at the outset it will help embed the policy and encourage compliance.

Resource: Communications guide

Our communications guide provides some hints, tips and advice to help ensure that anyone using your campus is aware of your smoke-free policy. You’ll also find some examples of creative approaches taken by other institutions to communicate their smoke-free message.

5. Preparing the Grounds

Display clear, welcoming signage in prominent places so that staff, students and visitors are aware of the smoke-free policy when they enter the campus.

You will also need to remove and replace all older signage and cigarette bins/ashtrays. This helps to keep messages clear and consistent. Revisit signage regularly to check for visibility and to ensure it has not been removed or vandalised.

Resource: Signage examples

Displaying clear, welcoming, positive signage helps to make people aware of the smoke-free campus policy.

Our range of smoke-free campus signage is available to institutions who are creating a smoke-free campus.

Contact us to request the full size versions.

Resource: Be a Quitter posters

A smoke-free campus policy should also be supportive of those trying to quit smoking.

Let staff and students know how they can access services to support them to quit smoking both on and off campus.

The following posters are available to download:

For details of your local stop smoking service and support they can provide visit

Resource: #befree posters

Promote the smoke-free message by displaying #befree posters at locations across campus and use the campaign materials on social media and digital information screens.

You can download the campaign posters in various formats for commercial and in-house printing here.

6. Launch

Plan a positive launch campaign involving partners, local press, social media promotion and information stalls on campus. 

Before launching your new policy, take time to brief staff and students on their responsibilities within the new policy and take time to answer any questions and address uncertainties in advance.

Resource: Communications guide

Guidance for promoting your new smoke-free policy can be found in our communications guide.

7. Post Launch

Think about the next steps how you will sustain the changes you’ve made. Prepare a strategy to support the smoke-free campus that includes ongoing implementation, communications and awareness raising, evaluation, monitoring and review.

Resource: Evaluation monitoring and review

It’s important to monitor, evaluate and review any new policy to measure it’s effectiveness and address any teething problems. We’ve prepared some pointers to help monitor and evaluate your smoke-free policy.

Resource: Communications guide

Communications should be repeated regularly throughout the academic year. Consistent messages will help establish awareness of the policy year-on-year, compliance and culture change should follow.

Our communications guide provides advice on raise awareness of your smoke-free campus policy.

Resource: Recognition and accreditation

Recieve recognition and demonstrate your institution’s commitment to health and wellbeing by registering for the following free initiatives:

Case studies

For inspiration check out our case studies from institutions who have taken practical steps to bring about positive changes on campus.

Fife College
• Ayrshire College (coming soon)
Dundee and Angus College
City of Glasgow College
West Lothian College

Further advice and support

ASH Scotland can offer support to further and higher education institutions who are developing a smoke-free campus policy. Get in touch to see how we can help.

If you’ve used any of our resources please share your experience with us.