By Eric Fung
Smokers on campus were warned last year of a new university policy regarding their habit, but apparently it needs to be said again. A new initiative to make smokers aware of the current policy starts this week with organizers hoping for better compliance.
“On campus, we’re trying to move the smoking populace away from entrances and air intakes,” said Larry Evans, University Health, Safety and Security Committee.
The current policy requires that smoking not occur within five metres of any building entrance, air intake or open window.
“Smoking is only allowed in designated areas inside MacEwan Hall,” he said of the Den and Black Lounge.
For students, smoking cessation could be covered under the Students’ Union Health Plan if the increase in Health and Dental fees is ratified in the general election.
“My recommendation is for next year’s executive to put that [smoking cessation coverage] into place,” said SU Vice-President Events Irene Enyedy. “We’re working with the university for programs to help students stop smoking or lessen tobacco intake.”
Neither the SU nor the university will actively patrol looking for violations of the smoking policy, but people smoking too close to buildings will be told to stop, according to Enyedy and Evans. Neither has plans for a smoke-free campus in the immediate future.
“Some students wanted to make the Den non-smoking,” said Enyedy. “But because of the financial hits on campus, if we were to become the only non-smoking location in the neighbourhood, we would lose too much revenue.”
Students will have access to a smoking cessation project put on by U of C nursing students at MacEwan Hall in March.
Neither Evans nor Enyedy could provide statistics about smoking on campus, but Evans estimated based on anecdotal evidence that less than ten per cent of university staff smoke on campus.