The College Campus Tobacco Policies Database© is a proprietary policy surveillance tool created by the ANR Foundation for the systematic collection and analysis of current policies governing smokefree and tobacco-free college campuses within the continental United States and territories, including adjacent American Indian and Alaska Native sovereign tribal entities. It was designed to be a comprehensive collection of policy data for the analysis of national trends, in order to evaluate the impact of policy provisions on health and/or tobacco use trends and help to strategically identify campuses without strong policies that might benefit from proactive outreach and technical assistance to become 100% smokefree and tobacco-free.
Today, the national database is a unique resource in the field of tobacco control, and unique in the field of public health generally, with 103 distinct fields analyzed for each campus policy. The data are also linked to electronic copies of more than 1,300 analyzed campus policy documents. Campus demographic data are included and searchable, including: community colleges vs. four-year (and beyond) institutions; public vs. private; HBCU; and other demographic data. The data is already in use by researchers, health departments, partners, the media, policy-makers, and advocates seeking to advance their tobacco-control efforts. As the database continues to grow, it is expected that fields will be added to the database to track more specific information of interest in the field.
HISTORY OF THE DATABASE
Since 2002, ANR Foundation’s Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities List of 100% smokefree and Tobacco-free campuses has proven invaluable to public health experts and researchers in protecting the health of students, faculty, and staff on campus. This list is updated quarterly and serves as the gold-standard, used nationwide, to document and publicize policy trends in higher education institutions. While it serves as an excellent resource for advocates, researchers, policymakers, government, the media, community-based organizations, national health organizations and campus leaders, there has been a growing need for more detailed data on policy trends and the types of campuses that are adopting these policies. Due to the demand for more detailed information and data from advocates, researchers, and partners, ANR Foundation began expanding this list into a full-scale, searchable database of smokefree and tobacco-free campus policies in 2015.
With pilot project funding from ICF International, as a subcontract of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Tobacco Control Research Branch (TCRB), as well as additional funding from the American Cancer Society, the ANR Foundation has further expanded the database beyond 100% smokefree and tobacco-free policies to include data on partial policies.
Since October 2016, the College Campus Tobacco Policies Database© has generated ANR Foundation’s Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities List, obviating a majority of manual manipulations previously required, and thus serving to increase both its accuracy and the efficiency with which it is generated.
Throughout 2017, the ANR Foundation worked with a database designer to create a tool that helps detect updates to campus policies currently listed on ANR Foundation’s Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities List on a quarterly basis; the tool was fully functional by year-end 2017.
HOW THE DATA ARE COLLECTED
Policies to be included in the database are identified through a variety of sources, including: ANR Foundation’s program staff and partners who provide technical assistance to campus campaigns, ANR Foundation information specialists who scan tobacco control publications, websites and listservs for this information daily, and tangentially, while researching known entities. Analyzed policy documentation is kept in an electronic library accessible by analysts. In the future, ANR Foundation intends to engage in proactive, systematic outreach to campuses to determine policy status and acquire policy documentation.
HOW THE DATABASE COLLECTION IS BUILT
The ANR Foundation has developed standardized guidelines and an electronic analysis form to analyze all tobacco control policies for 103 distinct fields. The analysis form is completed by reading and interpreting the policy according to the guidelines, entered directly into the database using the electronic form, and perma-linking the form with the source policy documentation for future reference. All policies are analyzed by senior ANR Foundation analysis staff with extensive policy analysis experience, and the process is completely paper-free.
HOW THE DATA ARE DISTRIBUTED
For advocates and public health professionals, the ANR Foundation continues to provide its Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities List of 100% smokefree and Tobacco-free campuses (publicly available on our web site, no-smoke.org), which is updated on a quarterly basis.
The ANR Foundation also provides policy-makers, partners, researchers and advocates with data runs on a fee basis. The fee varies depending on the complexity of the request and the amount of data being requested. The data on campus tobacco control policies have been used for a variety of purposes, such as: studying the impact of smokefree campuses on vape shop and hookah lounge density; reporting on trends in tobacco use among youth and young adults; analyzing the effect of campus policy strategies on compliance and efficacy; determining the application of campus policy restrictions to emerging products; assessing attitudes of, and support by, targeted campus groups; examining the impact of campus policies on smoking behaviors; reviewing campus policy trends within the context of campus type; comparing campus policy trends of institutions in the U.S. and abroad; and providing reporters, partners, and institutions with information about trends in campus tobacco-control policy.
The ANR Foundation’s organizational policy prohibits supplying data runs for individuals or organizations affiliated with the tobacco industry, its subsidiaries, allied industries, or front groups, in such a way as to be actively involved in promoting or aiding the tobacco industry. Requests for data must be received in writing, noting the name of the individual and affiliated organization for which the run is being conducted, as well as an indication as to how the data are going to be used. Verification of employment or other official affiliation is required from the organization or research institute of the individual requesting the data run. The ANR Foundation requires the client to credit the ANR Foundation as a source in all materials and all other means of communication containing all or any portion of the data obtained from the ANR Foundation.