The EHESP School of Public Health in Rennes officially becomes a smoke-free campus on 31 May 2018. A symbolic date – that of World No Tobacco Day – for initiating an unprecedented step in the fight against smoking, and support for smokers (staff, students or visitors to the school) for stopping smoking.
Creation and prefiguration of the smoke-free campus
As national reference school training future public health professionals, the EHESP has a duty to lead initiatives in the fight against smoking, first cause of death in France. Since 2015, the school has undertaken an awareness-raising approach, with the implementation of a range of communication and prevention measures on its campus in Rennes, supervised by a steering committee bringing together the school’s internal and external resources. Several partners are supporting the initiative, especially the Mission interministérielle de lutte contre les drogues et les conduites addictives (MILDECA-Inter ministerial mission for the fight against drugs and prevention of addictive behaviours), Association Nationale de Prévention en Alcoologie et Addictologie (ANPAA-French association for alcoholism and addiction prevention), Rennes University Hospital, Polyclinique Saint-Laurent, French cancer league – Ligue contre le cancer 35, the French hospital federation – MNH, the French addiction prevention network – Respaad and the town of Rennes. From the nationwide “smoke-free month” event to management of stopping smoking for its staff and students via personalised support plans, the idea of the smoke-free campus was gradually established for the EHESP. Objectives: protect non-smokers but also to enable smokers to evolve on a campus encouraging stopping or reducing tobacco use. Even if this initiative is already in place on the campuses of several international universities, to date, the EHESP is the first training and research institution in France to take the plunge.
Smoke-free campus – How to
On 31 May 2018, all people visiting the EHESP School of Public Health in Rennes are concerned by the smoke-free campus initiative. Far from entering into a repressive policy, the EHESP has first of all chosen to use clear advertising to warn users they are entering a non-smoking “area”, with especially “smoke-free campus” totems placed at the different entrances and special features for smokers (smoker shelters on the edge of the campus, ashtrays and butt collection system). The idea is to persuade and not to punish.
Monitoring and evaluation of the smoke-free campus
Even if setting up the smoke-free campus at the EHESP naturally follows on from prevention measures taken by the school for some years, monitoring and evaluating the initiative strikes as being essential. It will involve identifying changes in users’ behaviour over time, studying how the initiative can nurture the school’s training and research and observing whether future professionals trained at the EHESP will carry on this initiative in health care, health, social and medico-social institutions. As many indicators that can be used to make adjustments to ensure the longevity of the smoke-free campus.