Undergraduate College Students’ Smoking Behaviors within a Smoke-Free Campus

Faculty Sponsor

Theresa Kessler




Bachelor of Science in Nursing

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-23-2016


College years are crucial for young adults in the establishment of lifestyle behaviors that can have a lifetime effect (Staten & Ridner, 2007). The purpose of this project was to assess undergraduate college students’ smoking behaviors within a smoke-free campus. The Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983) provided the behavioral change framework. An on-line cross-sectional survey was used to collect data. Surveys were emailed via Zoomerang® and Survey Monkey® to all undergraduate students at Valparaiso University. Survey questions contained 56 forced-choice or open-ended options. Data were collected consecutively over three fall and spring semesters. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. A total of 972 fall freshman and 2,493 spring undergraduates responded, yielding a 32.9% total response rate. Subjects were predominantly female (59%) and white (85%). A total of 14% (n =526) indicated they smoked during the previous 30 days, but only 24% (n =126) of these smokers identified themselves as a “current smoker.” Students who smoked in the last 30 days were significantly more likely to have friends who smoked (X2 = 14.898, p < .001) and be exposed to other smokers (X2 = 12.921, p < .001). The research team implemented a mass media intervention to promote a smoke-free campus. The highest rates of media exposure came from freshman orientation (46.4%), signage on campus (25%), and resident assistants (24%). However, the reported rate of smoking did not decline significantly (p > .05). Data from this study adds to the growing body of evidence about college students’ smoking behaviors.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

This research project has been going on for a little over four years. Haley DeYoung and Megan Eggert have been undergraduate research assistants for the last two years. They are both senior nursing students graduating this May. Since being undergraduate research assistants, they have gained knowledge that will help them in their future careers as healthcare professionals. This poster summarizes all the research that has been conducted and concludes the work on this topic.

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