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Smoke-free Ege: An attempt for an integrative prevention strategy for tobacco control at a University setting
 
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Smoke-Free Ege Working Group, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
Publish date: 2018-10-03
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 3):A4
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ABSTRACT:
Introduction:
Ege University is a pioneering university at Ege region with its 70 000 students and approximately 3000 academic staff. Tobacco control policies, parallel to the current regulations in the country, are an important issue for Ege University too, yet it bares important opportunities as well as barriers for an integrative approach for tobacco control on University Campus.

Aim:
This study aims to explain the construction of Smoke-Free Ege Working Group, its formal initiation at the World No Tobacco Day (May 31st) and its subsequent action plan structured in the light of MPOWER.

Methods:
Since 1999, smoking cessation outpatient service delivery points have been the main units of motivation for tobacco control policies at Ege University. Although Turkey is moving well about tobacco regulations, adherence to regulations is deficient and high prevalence of smoking among university staff and students remains as a major concern throughout the years. In March 2018, the administrative bodies of Medical School, have dealt their concerns to the units serving care for cessation and have gathered them at a first meeting. The Dean and Medical Manager of Medical Faculty, with a non-smoker administrative team, mentored and facilitated these efforts. Starting at this point, with regular meetings, the representatives determined their objectives, current barriers and opportunities. The construction of Smoke-Free Ege Working Group has rooted from these consecutive meetings. In the light of MPOWER, specific objectives at University Campus were listed. The major aim of the group was recognized as “changing the norms and culture for smoking”. This needed a good promotion strategy as well as collaboration with staff, students and administrative units. The efforts were collaborated with the Communications Unit of the University. A logo was created, brochures to raise awareness for the Smoke Free issue and the Working group, were prepared. The formal presentation of the Working Group was planned as a colorful activity on World No Tobacco Day, May 31st. To gather more visibility at the social media and press, representatives from three major opponent sports teams of Izmir city were invited.

Results:
The Working Group was introduced to the media in the presence of the Rector, Dean, Medical managerl and all administrative units of the Medical School. Staff who succeeded to stop smoking, at the cessation service of the University, were awarded with certificates. The media showed great interest in the activity as it was put as “the famous sportsmen are supporting the efforts for a Smoke-free university”. Students and staff attended and shared the activity in social media as the entrance of the meeting was also colorfully designed for such promotion.

Conclusions:
The Working Group has achieved to attract attention of staff, students and responsible bodies of the University and now moving forward for Smoke –Free Councils with students and staff representatives. Barriers and opportunities will be discussed, actions in the light of MPOWER, will be planned at these Councils. Smoke –Free Unit certifications and awards, designing smoking points outside of education and hospital settings and changing the “norm” are targeted.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Isil Ergin   
Smoke-Free Ege Working Group, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
eISSN:1617-9625