University working towards a ‘smoke-free’ campus

The issue is discussed among students following a proposal to introduce designated outdoor smoking areas

At the most recent Better University Forum a motion was proposed to implement specific outdoor smoking areas on campus. Nine voted in favour and six voted against, but any further decision has been postponed until February, when it may go to a student wide referendum.

Notes from the discussion highlighted the issues that there were concerns over stigmatising smokers and not enabling them to smoke between lectures. However, the benefits were also discussed including a reduction in littering and second hand smoke.

The proposal fits in well with the university’s decision to work towards a ‘smoke-free campus’. Speaking to The Gryphon, a university spokesperson said: “After extensive discussion by the Health and Safety Committee, which includes staff and student representatives,  the University has agreed in principle to work towards a smoke-free campus. 

“Clearly there are many practical issues to be discussed, and these will be explored by a University working group that will include LUU, the Facilities Directorate, trade unions, health professionals and others. We will keep staff and students informed of progress.”

‘Smoke free campuses’ have been implemented in many universities across the United States of America and some in the UK.

From January 2007 Newcastle university implemented a smoke free campus. On their website, they list the reasons for this, stating that they want to “protect the right of the non-smoker not to be exposed to secondhand smoke”, to “provide encouragement and support to smokers who wish to give up smoking” and to “minimise the accumulation of unsightly smoking litter and reduce the risk of fire by providing suitable and adequate facilities.”

Freya Emerson is a second year architecture student at Newcastle University, and she said that “Newcastle is smoke free but it doesn’t stop people from smoking on campus and there are lots of designated smoking areas.”

A second year University of Leeds student said “I don’t see what the issue is with smoking outdoors. Obviously second hand smoke is harmful but when you’re in an open outside area the effects on non-smokers are minimal. People wanting to ban smoking on campus feels oppressive and unnecessary.”

The motion to introduce designated smoking areas has been postponed until February, when it is likely to go to a student wide referendum.

Polly Hatcher 

(Image: Minds)

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