Tobacco-Free College Campus Program


Smoke- and tobacco-free colleges and universities are gaining popularity across the U.S. In fact, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), there were at least 2,375 100% smoke-free campus sites as of July 1, 2019, and of those 2,375, over 2,000 were also 100% tobacco-free (includes smokeless and noncombustible forms of tobacco) while 1,986 also prohibit e-cigarette use everywhere. [i]

It’s time that colleges and universities across Pennsylvania work to implement comprehensive tobacco-free policies in order to create cleaner air on campuses and protect the lung health of both staff and students.



Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program


Want to see how your college or university compares with other campuses across the state? Interested in winning an award for being tobacco-free? Apply for our Gold Star Standards of Excellence Award through our program!

Gold Star Standards of Excellence (GSSE) is a way for schools across the state to determine their current stance in the tobacco-free policy development and implementation process. If the college/university has met a certain number of tobacco-free policy standards, that institution or organization will receive an award.


The Tobacco-Free Policy Standards of Excellence:


1. Tobacco Free Policy

The school has a 100% smoke and tobacco-free campus policy that prohibits all smoking and use of all tobacco products including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chew, snus, cigars, hookah, pipes and electronic smoking devices/electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as, e-cigarettes, e-hookah, vape pen, etc… This does not include products specifically approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purpose of cessation or nicotine replacement therapy. Tobacco use by students, faculty, staff, visitors and contractors is prohibited at all times on the college/university campus, including in parking lots, all vehicles parked on campus, at all satellite sites and other properties the school owns and/or rents. The policy extends to all off-site meetings, trainings and conferences and in all college/university owned or leased vehicles.

2. Policy Communication

Written policies, procedures or plans exist that detail communication about the campus policy, whether or not the policy is 100% smoke and tobacco-free, to all campus community members and visitors.

3. Policy Enforcement

Written policies, procedures or plans exist that detail compliance expectations, enforcement and awareness integration.

4. Tobacco Education

Education about the dangers of tobacco use, exposure to tobacco smoke and information related to tobacco treatment resources are available and integrated into existing trainings, events and programs.

5. Tobacco Treatment Benefits for Students and Employees

Tobacco treatment services are a covered benefit for individuals and their dependents insured through the student health insurance plan and employee health insurance plan. Benefits include coverage for counseling and medication for quitting tobacco, with minimal, or no barriers to utilization (i.e. copays, out of pocket costs, yearly limits).

6. Tobacco Advertising

The school has a policy prohibiting the advertisement of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, on the campus, including in advertising in school media, such as newspapers, radio, and magazines.

7. Tobacco Product Promotion and Distribution

The school has a policy prohibiting the sale, promotion and/or free distribution of all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, and paraphernalia, at all times, on campus and at all campus sponsored events, including by any student group or organization.

8. Tobacco Funding to Campus-Supported Groups or Organizations

The school has a policy prohibiting campus supported organizations and events from accepting donations, such as money or goods (i.e. all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices and paraphernalia), from tobacco companies and retailers.

9. Donations to College/University

The school has a written policy that it refuses all donations from the tobacco industry and divests itself of all tobacco industry stock.

10. Smokefree Community Lodging

The school includes information on 100% smoke-free options when providing campus visitors (i.e. prospective students, visiting athletics teams, etc.) local lodging information.


The Awards

  1. Meet 6-7 standards for the Bronze Award
  2. Meet 8-9 standards for the Silver Award
  3. Meet 10 complete standards for the Gold Award 

E-mail for specific award details. 


How to Apply



Need assistance with going tobacco-free? Not sure where to start? Find the answers you need within the Tobacco-Free College Campus Toolkit. The purpose of this toolkit is to assist colleges and universities across Pennsylvania in becoming 100% tobacco-free by building a comprehensive tobacco-free policy. With this toolkit, colleges and universities will be able to understand the benefits of going tobacco-free and receive step-by-step policy guidance on policy implementation to create cleaner air on their campus and protect the lung health of both staff and students.

Click below to access the toolkit.

Foot Notes
[i] Resource: Colleges. (2019, July 1). American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Retrieved from