Smoke-free campuses at UON
A Healthy UoN Initiative
The University of Newcastle is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy workplace for staff, students and visitors on campus.
On 1st July The University of Newcastle rolled out Stage 1 of the Smoke-free Campus initiative. Stage 1 included an introduction of designated smoking areas for the Callaghan and Ourimbah campuses to ensure that smokers have an area in which they can smoke and non-smokers can enjoy the campus without being exposed to second hand smoke. Signage and ashtrays are currently being removed from non-designated areas across the campuses.
The Smoke-free initiative applies to all University sites. As University staff, students or visitors, it is a requirement that the Smoke-free Environment Policy and Guideline are complied with in ensuring that smoking is only permitted in the Smoking Zones. Staff have a role to play in providing advice to people who may not be aware of the Policy and related Guideline. These can be found in the Policy Library (Health and Safety Policies, and Guidelines).
Any advice provided should be done in a polite supportive and non-confrontational manner and use can be made of the information cards also found on the Smoke-Free web site.
Many external partners and student associations have been involved in the implementation of the Smoke-Free initiative. These include TAFE, Central Coast Community College and the Department of Primary Industries at Ourimbah, Campus Central, The Forum and UoN Services. Students have been involved in the consultation process and overall there has been great support and endorsement for this initiative especially from NUSA and NUPSA. A PhD student worked behind the scenes to help establish the groundwork for finding suitable smoking locations, and UoN Services have been piloting designated smoking areas since February 2014 for events held at the Bar on the Hill. These have met with great success. On the Central Coast Campus, Campus Central have taken the first steps to remove the sale of tobacco products in preparation for a fully smoke-free campus.
Stage 2 involves reviewing the smoking areas over the second half of 2014 with the view to reducing the number of smoking areas until eventually the University is completely smoke free.
The University of Newcastle are currently offering free smoking cessation programs for those who want to take the first steps to quit smoking.
A research project has been approved to evaluate the implementation of the Smoke Free Policy to date and how we progress towards being completely smoke free.
Thinking of quitting? See the cessation programmes available.
What can you do if you see someone smoking outside of the designated smoking areas after July 1?
- Politely approach and state your name. Example, "Hello, my name is Diane".
- State the following, "You probably are unaware that we now have designated smoking areas on campus. Here is a card which shows you the closest smoking area".
- Hand over the card. "The closest smoking area to this building is ________"
- Thank the person for being understanding.
- If the person refuses to leave simply walk away and complete an incident report form online.
- If a person is being threatening, move away immediately and contact Security.
- Never place yourself or others at risk
The designated smoking zones were selected with the following considerations:
- Evenly dispersed throughout the campus in order to provide reasonable access for those staff and students who choose to smoke;
- Within a two minute walk, unless that location is within less than a two minute walk from the perimeter of the campus as staff and students can leave the campus in order to smoke;
- At least 10 metres from any enclosed areas, doorways, entrances and exits of buildings, opening windows and air conditioning intakes;
- Not in public areas defined in the currently amended NSW Smoke free Environment Act 2000, these include, but not limited to, public transport stops, spectator areas at sporting venues or within 10 metres of a childcare facility;
- Not in an area where food that has been purchased on the University campus is likely to be consumed;
- Not on a pedestrian thoroughfare or walkway that is difficult to avoid;
- Not an area where flammable chemicals are stored;
- An area at reasonably low risk for the starting of a bush fire;
- Reasonably accessible by foot and wheelchair;
- Reasonably visible by day and night;
- Cigarette disposal units available and,
- There will be no shelter constructed in these smoking zones as this would potentially create an enclosed space which contravenes the Smoke Free Environment Act 2000.
When will the Smoke Free Campus initiative begin?
The campus will go smoke free except for designated smoking areas 1st July 2014.
Why is the University moving to be smoke free?
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 places a duty on all employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their staff and other people while on their premises. These obligations extend to patrons, visitors and contractors. We have a duty of care to provide a safe environment in which people are not exposed to hazards such as second-hand cigarette smoke.
Will there be a designated area to smoke?
Yes, the University will be consulting with key stakeholders over the next few months to determine the most appropriate smoking areas on campus.
Current designated smoking areas at the Port Macquarie Campus can be found here (PDF, 53KB).
What about the rights of smokers?
Smokers may still smoke but only where their smoke does not cause harm to others. Providing a smoke-free environment, except for limited designated smoking areas, protects non-smokers and helps those who have decided to quit.
What support is offered to smokers who are endeavouring to quit?
A number of cessation programs will run on the Callaghan and Ourimbah campus for the University community - please see above for details.