A large Australian university introduced a campuswide smoke-free policy in 2012. Almost 1 year after implementation, reasons for noncompliance among people observed smoking on campus were examined.Methods:
Six smoking locations on campus were identified after a campuswide audit of smoking indicators (i.e., discarded cigarette butts packets and people observed smoking). At these locations, those observed smokers were interviewed. Interview responses were examined to elicit underlying themes.Results:
Fifty people were seen smoking during the observation period. Those smokers interviewed comprised staff (27%) and students (73%) aged between 18 and 24 (45.9%). The majority of the students were international students (51.8%). All respondents acknowledged their awareness of the smoke-free policy. Five explanatory themes for noncompliance emerged: defiance against the policy’s perceived threat to self-governance; inconvenience to travel off campus to smoke; smoking as a physiological necessity; unintentional noncompliance through unawareness or confusion of policy boundaries; and ease of avoidance of detection or exposing others to cigarette smoke.Conclusions:
Creating a culture of compliance at the university remains a significant challenge, especially considering the size of the campus, the high proportion of international students, and the logistics associated with monitoring smoking behavior in outdoor areas and on-campus student housing.