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Effects of a Tobacco-Free Work Site Policy on Employee Tobacco Attitudes and Behaviors, Travis County, Texas, 2010–2012
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    The adoption of tobacco-free policies in behavioral health settings is an important step in reducing staff tobacco use as well as the high rates of tobacco use among people with mental illness and behavioral disorders. Studies have demonstrated the importance of staff support when implementing tobacco-free workplace policies, but there is limited research examining tobacco use prevalence among staff and staff attitude before and after policy adoption.

    Community Context

    Integral Care, a local authority for behavioral health and developmental disabilities in Austin, Texas, and Austin Public Health embarked on a comprehensive planning process before implementing a 100% tobacco-free campus policy. The objectives were 1) assess staff tobacco use and attitudes toward a tobacco-free policy, 2) communicate policy to staff, 3) provide staff education and training, and 4) provide cessation resources.


    Integral Care and Austin Public Health conducted a web-based employee survey 6 months before and 6 and 12 months after implementation of the policy to measure tobacco use prevalence and attitudes among employees.


    Employees had significant improvements in tobacco use prevalence and attitudes toward the tobacco-free policy from pre-implementation to post-implementation. Tobacco use prevalence among staff decreased from 27.6% to 13.8%, and support for the policy increased from 60.6% to 80.3% at 12 months post-implementation.


    Adoption of 100% tobacco-free campus policies in behavioral health settings can result in significant reductions in staff tobacco use. Leadership should provide staff with education, training, and cessation support before adoption of tobacco-free work site policies to ensure success.

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