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Methodology
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Texans Standing Tall created a comprehensive list of more than 160 institutions of higher education (IHEs) campuses in Texas. There was no existing comprehensive list; therefore, Texans Standing Tall developed one using their statewide database of IHEs prevention staff and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s list of IHEs.

MEASURES
Texans Standing Tall developed evaluation criteria and then collected and reviewed the targeted policies from each Texas college and university campus.

EVALUATION
Evaluation Criteria
To evaluate the tobacco policies of each campus, the following criteria were defined and identified.

Policy Area
Texans Standing Tall has adopted, with some modification, the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation’s rating criteria. Texans Standing Tall assessed and rated a campus’s compliance related to three policy areas:
    (1) Smoke-free;
    (2) Smokeless tobacco-free; and
    (3) E-cigarette free.

Then Texans Standing Tall scored each campus’s policy as it relates to each policy area. This means that each campus will receive, at a minimum, three scores, one for each policy area.

Category Area
To determine each Policy Area Score, Texans Standing Tall evaluated each policy area across five campus-related categories:
    (1) All buildings;
    (2) All outside areas;
    (3) All on-campus sporting events or special events;
    (4) All campus-owned vehicles; and
    (5) All approved exemptions.

This means that Texans Standing Tall assessed and rated each campus’s policy as it relates to the three policy areas across all five campus-related categories. Thus, each campus will receive, at a minimum, a score for each of the three policy areas based on each of the five categories.

Subscales
Previous research by Texans Standing Tall indicated that there are subtleties to each of the five categories. Thus, to effectively rate policies related to each category, Texans Standing Tall identified subscales for two categories (i.e., nine subscales for “All buildings” and seven subscales for “All outside areas”).

Evaluation Scoring
Once the Policy Area and Category Rating Criteria was determined, Texans Standing Tall developed its scoring procedure, which was used as detailed below, to assess and score the tobacco policy of each campus.

Subscale Score
Each campus’s policies were sorted into the appropriate Policy Areas. If a policy addressed more than one Policy Area, it was assessed and scored independently for each Policy Area it covered. For example, if a policy prohibited cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarette use in campus-owned vehicles, that policy was evaluated three times (i.e., once under Smoke-Free, once under Smokeless Tobacco-Free, and once under E-cigarette-Free). After each policy was sorted by Policy Area, Texans Standing Tall staff assigned subscale scores of either “1” or “0” for each subscale under each of the five Category Areas. A score of “1” meant that the policy was “compliant” and a score of “0” meant that the policy was “noncompliant.” This process was repeated for each subscale, yielding potential maximum scores as follows.

    Category Area Subscales
    All buildings 9
    All outside areas 7
    All sporting events 1
    All campus-owned vehicles 1
    Only Approved Exemption(s) 1

Category Scores
Once the Subscale Scores for each Category were determined, Texans Standing Tall staff began to assign Category Scores. Category Scores were “1” or “0” for each Category Area. A score of “1” meant that the Category Area was fully “compliant” and a score of “0” meant that the Category Area was deemed “noncompliant.” Thus, to be deemed fully compliant for “All buildings,” the Subscale Score had to be exactly “9.” A Subscale Score of 8 or less meant that one or more subscales were deemed “noncompliant,” which, in turn, meant the Category was deemed “noncompliant.” This process was repeated for each Category and each subscale. The maximum Category Score in each of the Policy Areas was 5, as seen in the following table.

    Category Area Maximum Subscale Score Maximum Category Score
    All buildings 9 1
    All outside areas 7 1
    All sporting events 1 1
    All campus-owned vehicles 1 1
    Only Approved Exemption(s) 1 1

Policy Area Score
Once Category Scores were calculated, Texans Standing Tall staff assigned Policy Area Scores. This criteria resulted in a simple score of “1” or “0” for each Policy Area (i.e., Smoke-Free, Smokeless Tobacco-Free, and E-cigarette Free). A score of “1” meant that the campus Policy Area was rated as “100% compliant” and a score of “0” meant that the campus policy was rated as “noncompliant.” To be considered 100% compliant in a Policy Area, the campus must have received the maximum Category Score, which is a score of 5. A Category Score of 4 or less meant that one or more Categories were deemed “noncompliant,” which, in turn, meant the Policy Area was deemed “noncompliant.”

Once a Policy Area Score was determined for each Policy Area, a “cumulative” Policy Score could be calculated. The highest possible cumulative Policy Score is 3. A score of 3 meant that the campus was 100% Smoke-Free, 100% Smokeless Tobacco-Free, and 100% E-cigarette Free. Flags are used in this database to signify that a campus is 100% compliant in a Policy Area. A campus with a cumulative Policy Score of 3 (indicated on the screen as 3 flags) is awarded Texas Standing Tall’s Blue Banner designation, the highest designation possible.

EXEMPTIONS
Some colleges and universities are 100% compliant with smoke-free, smokeless tobacco-free, and e-cigarette-free policies in each of the Category Areas with the exception of specific exemptions. To ensure uniformity in its ratings, Texans Standing Tall adopted and used the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation’s approved exemptions, which are allowed in a campus’s tobacco policy because they are narrow in scope and have limited harm, if any, on the campus community. These approved exemptions are specific and strictly limited to using tobacco or e-cigarettes:
    1. Inside personally-owned vehicles; or
    2. In religious ceremonies; or
    3. For research-related purposes with the prior approval of a research board, such as an Institutional Review Board, or other research authority.

Any and all other exemption(s) are classified as “noncompliant.” As an example, if a campus has smoke-free, smokeless tobacco-free, and e-cigarette-free policies that appear to be 100% compliant BUT allow an exemption for “theatrical production,” then the campus is rated as “noncompliant,” and would receive a rating score of “0”, as the theatrical production exemption is not an allowed exemption per Texas Standing Tall and the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. When Texans Standing Tall staff assign a score for “All approved exemptions,” they assign a score of “1” if the policies have no exemptions OR only have the ‘approved’ exemptions listed above. A score of “0” under “All approved exemptions” would signify that the campus has exemptions that are not considered ‘approved’ and are not allowed.

REPORTING
The overall intent of Texans Standing Tall’s Database of Texas Institutions of Higher Education and Their Tobacco Policies is to help campuses, community members, and concerned stakeholders quickly identify those college and university campuses that are 100% smoke-free, 100% smokeless tobacco-free, and 100% e-cigarette free (identified by the Blue Banner icon). As the number of these campuses grows, Texans Standing Tall hopes that this database will be useful in helping identify and publicize those campuses that have taken the time and dedicated the resources to become 100% smoke-free, smokeless tobacco-free, and e-cigarette free.

Further, the Texans Standing Tall database is designed to allow users to locate those campuses that may be compliant in only 1 or 2 of the 3 Policy Areas (i.e., smoking, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes) by allowing users to run reports that will list the campuses that are 100% smoke-free, 100% smokeless tobacco-free, or 100% e-cigarette-free but are not yet 100% comprehensive tobacco-free campuses. This will allow users to check the status and observe progress of each campus in Texas as campuses strengthen their policies.

DEFINITIONS
All Buildings: Any building owned, leased as lessor, or leased as lessee by the college/university. Buildings include, but are not limited to: residence halls, dorms, on and off campus apartments, community areas, performance venues, classroom and office buildings, workshops, gymnasiums, stairwells, dining halls, vending areas, waiting rooms, restrooms, breezeways, and connectors.

All Outside Areas: Any outside area situated on campus property moving beyond the boundaries of buildings, including but not limited to: perimeter of buildings, parking lots, parking structures, sports/recreational areas, fields, stadiums, sidewalks, walkways, park-like settings, and designated areas.

Approved Exemptions: Exemptions to smoking, smokeless tobacco, or e-cigarette policies that include the acceptable exemptions of (1) inside personally-owned vehicles; (2) for religious purposes; and (3) for research approved by an Institutional Review Board or other research authority.

Campus-Owned Vehicles: Any vehicle owned, leased, or operated by the college/university.

Electronic Smoking Device (E-Cigarette): Any product containing or delivering nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person to simulate smoking through inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the product. The term includes any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah, vape pen, or under any other product name or descriptor.

Noncompliant Exemptions: Any exemptions to smoking, smokeless tobacco, or e-cigarette policies, not including the acceptable exemptions of inside personally-owned vehicles, for religious purposes, and for research approved by an Institutional Review Board or other research authority, and including any other exemption not listed above.

Comprehensive Tobacco-Free: Defined as having 100% compliant policies in all three policy areas (i.e. smoking, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes).

On-Campus Sporting/Special Events: Any college/university sanctioned sporting or special event using college/university facilities, including but not limited to: public events such as conferences, meetings, public lectures, social events, cultural events, campus visits, sporting events, tailgating, commencement, concerts, and alumni events.

Smokeless Tobacco: A blanket term that refers to a number of tobacco products (e.g., snuff, snus, dipping tobacco, and chewing tobacco) that are used by means other than smoking, including chewing, sniffing, placement between teeth and gum, and application to the skin.

Smoking: Inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product (including hookahs) intended for inhalation, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form.

DISCLAIMER
In creating this database, Texans Standing Tall relied on policies found through extensive online searches of campus websites and their student and campus administration handbooks. When necessary, Texans Standing Tall called campuses for clarification of their policies and/or cross-referenced campus policies with information on the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation’s Smokefree and Tobacco-free U.S. and Tribal College and Universities website. Additionally, prior to public promotion of the database, campuses were emailed and given the opportunity to review their campus rating and provide updated policy information.

All policy information in the database is accurate to the best of our knowledge; however, there may be some discrepancies due to lack of campus response and/or detail in the campus policy. For example, if a policy indicated the campus was 100% tobacco-free but it did not specify e-cigarettes, then the campus was determined to be non-compliant in the e-cigarette policy area. Further, it must be acknowledged that the best written policy and procedure is only as effective as its implementation and enforcement. Thus, Texans Standing Tall highly recommends that prospective students, faculty, community members, and other concerned stakeholders do not rely solely on this database to form a complete opinion about a campus’s compliance with its own policies and procedures.

Finally, the database includes a “contact us” web form for any campus to contact Texans Standing Tall with questions, feedback, or to update their information.

   
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