UC Regents Awards $540,733 to Joshua Yang to Study University Tobacco-free Policies

Yang headshotJoshua Yang, associate professor of Public Health, has been awarded $540,733 from The Regents of the University of California, Office of The President for his project, “A ‘digital’ mixed-methods evaluation of university tobacco-free policies.”

With more young adults enrolled in college, college smoking policies have a significant impact on secondhand smoke exposure and smoking behavior. Though smoke and tobacco-free campus policies have spread rapidly in California, according to Yang, non-compliance with campus smoking policies is a challenge and undermines the intent of campus smoking policies. The long-term objective of his study is to reduce involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke on college campuses by maximizing compliance with smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

The study will combine an ecological theoretical approach and a mixed-methods design leveraging community campus engagement and advances in “big data” to conduct an in-depth evaluation of university tobacco-free policies at the University of California, San Diego and Cal State Fullerton.

The specific aims of Yang’s study are:

  • Identify why students and employees at two public California universities violate campus smoking policies
  • Identify and characterize user conversations regarding smoking behaviors near or around college and university campuses with smoke- or tobacco-free policies by collecting and analyzing data from popular college-age social media platforms Twitter and Instagram
  • Develop an inventory of new and/or refined policy and programmatic options for enhanced implementation of and compliance with campus smoking policies at the two research sites that are responsive to findings in first two specific aims