SMOKERS are in for a tough time at Deakin University this year, with the Warrnambool campus banning the killer habit as of March 10.
All Deakin campuses have signed on for the initiative along with eight other universities across the state.
The health policy means no smoking will be allowed in or around buildings or in any outdoor areas, even going so far as to forbid smoking in vehicles on campus.
According to Deakin’s “Smoke-Free” web page, the ban covers “cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew, and any other non-combustible tobacco product”.
The ban on e-cigarettes, which contain no tobacco but emit a vapour and are becoming popular with people trying to quit smoking, warrants a special mention on the website, noting “the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) does not consider e-cigarettes to be a safe nicotine delivery system or smoking cessation strategy and their use is prohibited on University property for the purposes of this policy”.
“However, other forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches are allowed,” the website states.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said the aim of the program was to create a healthier learning and working environment from March 10 and to encourage smokers to reduce or quit smoking.
“Smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia — with one tobacco-related death occurring about every 28 minutes,” Professor den Hollander said.
“That is why Deakin University has led this important initiative to protect and enhance the health of students, staff and visitors at Deakin campuses and improve the quality of study and work environments.”
Deakin University’s head of the school of health and social development Professor Catherine Bennett said Deakin-wide surveys found widespread support for the initiative.
“It is evident that smoke-free environments contribute to increased rates of quitting and help reduce the amount of people who take up smoking,” Professor Bennett said.
“If this initiative ultimately results in a reduction of smoking rates throughout Victoria, then it will be a great result for the Deakin University community and broader population,” she said. No punitive measures come with the smoking ban, with a press release from Deakin University stating “people smoking at Deakin University campuses may be reminded about the policy and respectfully asked to discontinue smoking, or to leave the campus until they have finished smoking”.
Professor den Hollander said the uni was committed to providing “a supportive manner to accommodate the potential challenges some smokers may experience”.
“A new website will offer staff and students information about the rollout and support services including professional counselling to help them stop smoking,” she said.
Other universities taking part in the campaign in Victoria include Australian Catholic University, Federation University, Latrobe University, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University and Victoria University.