The University of Guelph Humber’s no smoking policy may not be as strict as the signs around campus would like students to believe.
On Jan. 1, 2019, students got word of the new smoking rules through emails and signs around the school.
Prior to Jan. 1, smoking was allowed on campus as long as smokers were at least nine metres away from any school entrances or exits.
Since the new policy came into effect, staff say that security guards at the school have been told to tell smokers to either put out their cigarettes or to smoke off campus.
The policy doesn’t only refer to smoking cigarettes, but cannabis and e-cigarettes as well.
Alessandra Di Bona, a second year psychology student at the University of Guelph Humber says she smokes on campus often.
The policy she says, has not affected her. “No one says anything.” she says as she took a drag of her cigarette at the Guelph-Humber entrance.
Rob Kilfoyle, director of security at Humber College, says that they “did a little blitz at the beginning, but it’s been an ongoing struggle trying to police the policy.”
Kilfoyle says that during the policy’s infancy, some security staff were “on designated smoking patrols.” Though he says that security were not able to sustain those roles for the whole semester.
“We have a lot of other things to be doing, so it’s not something we can stay right on top of.” says Kilfoyle.
“The reality is there’s no real teeth to the policy. We could give you a violation notice, and if you get a few of those you can be brought in front of the conduct office. But, you know, in terms of degrees of what is super bad, it [smoking] is not high up there.”
Kilfoyle says that the school isn’t trying to be heavy handed, but to take a more proactive and educational approach to the dangers of smoking.
Kilfoyle says that there still isn’t a day that goes by where he doesn’t have to address a student smoking on campus.
“We need compliance,” Kilyfoyle says. “The more non-compliant you are, the more likely you are to receive some discipline.”
According to Humber College’s health and safety manager, Margaret Fung, those disciplines might come in the form of written warnings, but it doesn’t happen often.
Fung says she has “only received respectful responses” from students she has personally asked to toss their cigarette butts.
Fung says that “smoking in front of Humber’s LRC has been totally eliminated”, but she is
“unsure of how much smoking is going on in other areas,” such as Guelph Humber’s campus.
Di Bona says “People know about the rules, they just don’t care. From my experience, neither do the security guards.”
For more information, Fung says to visit https://www.humber.ca to read more about Humber’s Smoke-Free Campus Policy.