Support for a Campus Tobacco-Free Policy among Non- Smokers: Findings from a Developing Country


Background: A tobacco-free workplace policy is identified as an effective means to reduce tobacco use and protect people from second-hand smoke; however, the number of tobacco-free policies (TFP) remains very low in workplaces in Malaysia. This study explored the factors affecting support for a tobacco-free policy on two healthcare campuses in Malaysia, prior to the implementation of TFP. Materials and
Methods: This crosssectional study was conducted among 286 non-smokers from two healthcare training centres and two nearby colleges in Malaysia from January 2015 to April 2015. A standardized questionnaire was administered via staff and student emails. The questionnaire collected information on sociodemographic characteristics, support for a tobacco-free policy and perceived respiratory and sensory symptoms due to tobacco exposure. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate the independent effects of supporting a tobacco-free campus.
Results: The percentage of individuals supporting completely tobacco-free facilities was 83.2% (N=238), as opposed to 16.7% (N=48) in support of partially tobacco free facilities. Compared to the supporters of partially tobacco-free facilities, non-smokers who supported completely tobacco-free health facilities were more likely to be female, have higher education levels, to be very concerned about the effects of other people smoking on their health and to perceive a tobacco-free policy as very important. In addition, they perceived that tobacco smoke bothered them at work by causing headaches and coughs and, in the past 4 weeks, had experienced difficulty breathing. In the multivariate model, after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and other factors, only experiencing coughs and headaches increased the odds of supporting a completely tobacco-free campus, up to 2.5- and 1.9-fold, respectively.
Conclusions: Coughs and headaches due to other people smoking at work enhances support for a completely tobacco-free campus among non-smokers.