New on-campus smoking rules take effect July 1
A new policy governing outdoor smoking on the Lincoln Park campus is designed to respect the rights of smokers and protect others from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.
Beginning July 1, smoking on campus will be permitted only in designated outdoor areas, which will be marked by signs. People who wish to use tobacco on campus will be required to do so only in these areas.
There will be six smoking locations on the main part of the campus as well as one near the West Residence buildings and three in the East Residence area.
“Creating a healthy environment for all members of the campus community is a priority for Mount Royal and the new tobacco use policy will do a lot to further that goal,” said Brian Fleming, chair of the Smoking Task Team. “Smoking areas will be moved away from building entrances and air intakes.”
The College established a Smoking Task Team last summer to review Mount Royal’s on-campus smoking policy and provide recommendations for developing a new policy. One of the team’s first steps was to consult students, faculty and support staff through a survey, which asked their opinions about on-campus smoking. The survey information was presented to the campus community last November during a series of town hall meetings. Information gathered through the survey and the town hall meetings was used to develop recommendations, which were then presented to and accepted by the Mount Royal College Board of Governors.
As of July 1, outdoor smoking will be permitted only in the following locations:
Why not provide a smoke-free campus?
One question the team was frequently asked during the consultation process was: Why not make the entire campus smoke-free?
“We did a great deal of best practice research by talking to other colleges and universities about their tobacco use policies. The research showed that institutions located within urban areas, like Mount Royal is, had difficulty going completely smoke-free because smokers migrated off-campus into surrounding communities,” said Fleming.
“The research also showed that many people ignore the rules altogether when faced with a complete ban. But when they are provided with a safe, comfortable and convenient place to use tobacco, they will usually comply,” he said.
In addition to the new College policy, the Mount Royal Faculty Association and the Students’ Association of Mount Royal College voted in March to ban smoking from their facilities, effective July 1, 2006. The Mount Royal Support Staff Association voted to do the same at its meeting in May, also effective July 1.
How will this policy be enforced?
Another question that often came up during the town hall meetings was: How will the policy be enforced?
“We are emphasizing a voluntary and educational approach to compliance,” said Richard Roberts, vice-president of Administrative Services. “We are counting on people’s cooperation, rather than emphasizing sanctions. And we’re confident that people want to comply and that we will be successful in educating them about where smoking will be permitted and that they will use those areas exclusively,” said Roberts.
On-campus smoking cessation help available
Faculty and support staff members who belong to the extended health care plan can speak with counsellors as part of their benefits package. To talk to a counsellor, call the employee and family assistance program at 1-866-644-0326. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As well, the employee extended health care plan covers the prescription medication Zyban, which is used to help people break their addiction to tobacco. The plan covers Zyban for employees up to a $300 lifetime maximum.
The Students’ Association also has a smoking cessation program available to students through the student health and dental program beginning Sept. 1. Students may check with the Student Benefit Plan Office for more information.
Mount Royal’s complete smoking policy is posted on MyMRC.