HALIFAX - The butts are out at Saint Mary’s University as a ban on tobacco anywhere on campus grounds officially took hold on Sept. 1.
In a small survey of students at the campus on Monday, reaction to the new policy was generally favourable.
“When people walk by [who are smoking and] I smell the smoke, I’m just like, ‘Ugh, I don’t like smoking at all,” said Kelsie Atkinson, a first-year sociology student.
Besides being good for the health of non-smokers, she feels it will help provide incentive for smokers to quit.
“Maybe it will make other people stop smoking because they have to go so far to smoke.”
Third-year accounting student Jaffar Alramil is a smoker and thinks the added walk will help him to quit his one-per-day cigarette habit.
“I think it’s a good idea to have fresh air all around the school, so it’s better for the student, for their health,” he said.
However, Alramil says some of his friends who are bigger smokers have voiced displeasure about the policy.
“I got a bunch of friends who were complaining about it… They were swearing actually because they are heavy smokers and they have to smoke like every hour,” he said.
The tobacco-free policy – the first of its kind for an Atlantic Canadian university – applies to both tobacco and tobacco-related products and applies to everybody on campus. It covers all “buildings, facilities, parking lots, and grounds” on campus, says the university’s website. The ban even applies to parked vehicles.
There is one exception to the tobacco ban. Students who live in residence will be allowed to smoke in a small outdoor area behind the Rice Residence between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This area will serve as a safety valve “for students who are trying to quit, but have yet to succeed,” says the university’s website.
People who violate the policy will be advised of the policy and asked to leave campus. Campus security will issue notices for frequent violators.
The motivation behind the policy is to create a healthier campus environment.
After three violations are issued to somebody who violates the tobacco-free ban at Saint Mary’s University, they, according to the school’s website, “will be invited to a meeting where appropriate actions can be determined.”