To become one of the healthiest campuses in Canada all Humber and Guelph-Humber property will be smoke-free starting Jan. 1, 2019.
Meg Houghton, associate dean, student wellness and equity, said the objective is part of Humber College’s new mission.
“I hope students see this as an opportunity,” said Houghton.
Rob Kilfoyle, director of public safety and emergency Management, said smoking of any kind, including vapes and e-cigarettes, will be prohibited on all Humber and Guelph-Humber property.
Kilfoyle said all smoking is to be done off school grounds, the closest being the sidewalk on Humber College Boulevard bordering the north border of the north campus.
All designated smoking areas or “smoke shelters” will be removed, said Kilfoyle. One of these smoking shelters is currently located on the east side of the Learning Resource Commons (LRC) building where many faculty and students are constantly taking advantage of the space.
Smokers will not be fined. Kilfoyle expects voluntary compliance.
However, students could face repercussions through the code of conduct warned Kilfoyle.
According to Humbers Code of Student Conduct, the school reserves the right to present students in violation of the code with a sanction. These sanctions can lead to disciplinary measures decided on a case by case basis.
“We expect it to be a bit of a transition, we know not everyone is going to be agreeable to it, but we are hopeful people will see the advantages of going smoke-free,” said Kilfoyle.
Houghton said students should take this as an opportunity to seek out resources to quit smoking.
This smoke-free policy comes from Humber signing onto the Okanagan Charter on Oct. 2, 2018, said Houghton.
The charter states colleges or universities agree to “embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates” and “lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.”
According to the University of British Columbia’s website, the Okanagan Charter was created in 2015, at the International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges hosted by the university. The conference brought together participants “from 45 countries, representing both educational institutions and health organizations.”
Second-year electrical engineering student at Humber College, Yeshika Dookhee, has been committed to quitting smoking but was unaware the school provides resources. The school could do a better job in ensuring these resources were more accessible to students said Dookhee.
Dookhee said she is currently using a vape to help her quit, something the school has also decided to prohibit on campus.
Dookhee said, “as a person who vapes, I’m now going to have to go out of my way to find a place off campus when I’m trying to use it to quit smoking.”
The new policy itself will not do much in preventing students from smoking, said Dookhee.
Houghton said the school offers free resources that students should take advantage of while they can.
Resources can be found at Humber’s student wellness and ability centre located on the second floor of the LRC building, said Houghton.
Services include meeting with a doctor or nurse, talking to a counselor, joining a support group and calling the smokers helpline according to the centre’s website.
“We’re certainly excited to support students,” said Houghton.
The idea of a smoke-free campus is not new for universities and colleges across Ontario. Campuses who have already adopted this policy include McMaster University, Western University and George Brown College.