Dalhousie is a no-smoking university. It is committed to providing a safe and healthy place in which to work and study. The university's non smoking policy came into effect on September 1, 2003. The policy prohibits smoking in all university buildings, including university residences, on university property and in university vehicles.
Moving to a smoke-free policy was a pioneering effort. Dalhousie was the first university in Canada to declare its property 'smoke-free'. The decision to adopt such a policy is strongly supported by students, faculty and staff. More than 82 per cent of Dalhousie community members who responded to a 2003 survey supported the policy's adoption.
Under this policy those who wish to smoke are asked to leave university property. While smoking on public property smokers are asked to avoid littering, to be respectful of others, and of course to abide by the municipal by-law.
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Smoke Free Program
May 2, 2003
As many of you know, the University's Environmental Health and Safety Committee has proposed that smoking be prohibited on all Dalhousie-owned property. Currently smoking is restricted to areas five meters from buildings. Effective September 1, smoking will be prohibited on all University-owned property and grounds, in student residences, and in University vehicles.
The University first introduced a policy to prohibit smoking in its buildings in 1988. That policy has since evolved to keep pace with new health information and attitudes towards tobacco smoke. Our aim is to improve public health at Dalhousie.
We know the move to a Smoke-Free Dalhousie is supported by many in the University community. This past winter, nearly 82 per cent of those who responded to a request for comments supported such a smoke-free policy. Overwhelmingly people are unhappy with the existing situation and feel the existing policy is not sufficient. People react poorly to being exposed to smoke at entranceways to buildings, on walkways, in outside gathering areas, and in offices that have windows or doors where smoke wafts in from outside.
Experts in the field tell us that smokers often see these policy changes as an opportunity to try to quit. We would not force that decision upon anyone, but we will be expanding our support programs by working with health agencies to offer cessation programs to employees and students.
Our committee has carefully examined a long list of issues and developed processes that will be put into place over the next few months. A web site will contain a wide range of public health information. It will include maps of University-owned areas where smoking will be prohibited on all three campuses. These maps will be published in Dalhousie News and in other appropriate communications. There will be new signage on exit doors and we will ensure that new and returning students are aware of the changed policy before September. We will work with the Dalhousie Student Union to determine how it can respond to our students' clearly expressed wish for reduced exposure to second-hand smoke. We also will work with the Dalhousie Arts Centre, Dalplex and other public venues to help them inform their clients and the general public of the new policy.
Over the next few days, you will probably read and hear comments in the media about Dalhousie's new smoke-free policy. The University will be in the vanguard of organizations that have made the decision to take that extra step to protect the health of our community members. At the same time, it is clear that public policy in many jurisdictions is moving in the same direction and to the same purpose.
I would like to thank all the members of the Dalhousie community who took the time to send their thoughtful comments to the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, as well as to the committee members for their time and well-considered conclusions. I thank all members of the Dalhousie community for your cooperation as we begin to implement this new program.
President Tom Traves
Stop Smoking Resources
- Health Canada - Quit Smoking
- Halifax Regional Municipality - Smoke-Free Places Act Overview
- The Lung Association of Nova Scotia
- The Nova Scotia Legislature - Smoke-Free Places Act
- Smoke-Free Nova Scotia
- Stop Smoking Center
- World Health Organization - Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)
Lung Association of Nova Scotia
The Lung Association's Chairman, John McNeil, has presented Dalhousie Vice President, Bryan Mason, with a plaque to congratulate the University for instituting a total smoke ban. The inscription reads:
"Dalhousie University is the first University in Canada to provide a non-smoking environment for its entire campus community. Once again, a Nova Scotia institution, Dalhousie University, is giving leadership and setting an example for the entire country. The Lung Association of Nova Scotia applauds Dalhousie for taking this positive action that will provide a healthy working and learning environment for everyone connected with the University."
Heart and Stroke Association of Nova Scotia
Clare O'Connor, Director of Policy and Government Relations with the Hearth and Stroke Association of Nova Scotia, has congratulated the University on adopting a campus-wide smoke-free policy.
O'Conner noted "Decisive action and leadership is the only way to effectively move toward improved health. Dalhousie University's historical and innovative campus-wide smoke-free policy is an example of the decisiveness and leadership that is required."
Nova Scotia Provincial Health Council
C. A. Randall, Chair of the Nova Scotia Provincial Health Council, presented Dalhousie University with a Healthy Communities Award in recognition of Dalhousie becoming "the first University in Canada to implement a 100% smoking ban on all university property".
Smoke-Free Nova Scotia
At its 2005 annual meeting Dr. R. Strang, the President of Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, presented the University with a certificate in recognition of Dalhousie's leadership in tobacco control in Nova Scotia. Accepting on behalf of the University were D. Boutillier and F. Fyfe, current and past chairs of the Environmental Health and Safety Committee.