A SURVEY of Deakin University students and staff has found overwhelming support against smoking at the Warrnambool campus grounds.
More than 95 per cent of students and staff questioned agreed people had a basic right to breathe smoke-free air, while just 14 per cent of students believed smokers should have the right to the habit when and where they want.
The survey found more than 80 per cent of students and staff prefer to socialise in a smoke-free environment.
Vice-chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said Deakin University’s smoke-free policy, which started on March 10, was a joint initiative with the eight other Victorian universities to encourage smokers to reduce or quit smoking.
“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,” Professor den Hollander said.
Deakin’s smoke-free initiative discourages smoking in and around buildings, in outdoor areas and in other spaces such as vehicles located on campus.
Nearly 84 per cent of students identified as non-smokers or ex-smokers, while 56 per cent of staff are non-smokers and 29 per cent are ex-smokers.
More than 64 per cent of students who smoke are planning to quit, while 67 per cent of staff also plan to quit.
Only 3 per cent of students and 12 per cent of staff identified as heavy smokers.
Head of Warrnambool campus Professor Gerry Quinn said the survey was pleasing and confirmed the vast majority of staff and students wanted a smoke-free environment for work and study.
“We haven’t noticed any negative reaction at the Warrnambool campus,” he said. “The signs appear to be working and smoking in outside areas where staff and students frequent has declined markedly.”
He said Deakin University was offering free support programs to help people to quit smoking.