Smoking ban at DC, UOIT working, school officials say

Signs have been placed outside campus entrances at Durham College and UOIT indicating smoking is banned on the property. Photo credit: Cameron Andrews

Officials at UOIT and Durham College say the recently implemented campus smoking ban is working well at both schools.

In October, the campuses of the schools became smoke-free. Officials made the decision because of the legalization of cannabis on Oct. 17 and to promote health and safety.

More than three months after the change, officials are pleased with the response of the campus community.

A student (foreground) adheres to the new smoke-free policy at DC and UOIT, by smoking on a path off school property, while another individual waits, between the campus and neighbouring housing units. Photo credit: Cameron Andrews

“We were pleasantly surprised how many people that have conformed with the non-smoking or the zero smoking campus, so it is a small percentage of people that persists,” says Don Lovisa, president of Durham College.

UOIT students are largely in support of the ban, according to Jamie Bruno, assistant vice-president of human resources.

“The overwhelming feedback that we have received support for the restriction of tobacco consumption on campus,” says Bruno.

However, there are still a small number of students and faculty who can be seen smoking on campus.

The schools are implementing new consequences to students and faculty caught smoking on campus, says Lovisa.

The schools are rolling out the smoking ban in three phases.

Phase one was the announcement that the school has gone smoke-free. The school posted signs and gave out information cards saying the campus is smoke-free. The campus is not keeping a record of students or faculty caught smoking, says Lovisa.

Lovisa says “we want to be fair to people through education.”

Phase two will kick in at the start of February. There will be more security making sure students are not smoking on the campus, Lovisa says. Any students caught smoking on campus will be asked to butt out and then asked for their ID, he adds.

The Region of Durham is currently discussing whether to create a bylaw about smoking on campuses. Lovisa says if a bylaw is passed, students caught smoking could be fined.

Amanda Job, a personal support worker student at Durham, says she likes the ban.

“I hated walking through the smoke clouds and I bring my three-year-old here and he had to walk through it,” says Job.

Job also says it’s a tough situation since people only get about 10 minutes between classes to smoke.

“It kinda (sic) sucks that they have to walk so far, but maybe it will deter people to quit,” she adds.

It is not known if students or faculty have been under the influence of cannabis while in class at Durham, Lovisa says.