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Clearing the air about smoking on campus

- October 6, 2017

"Let's Clear the Air" sign outside Dal's Killam Library. (Ryan McNutt photo)
"Let's Clear the Air" sign outside Dal's Killam Library. (Ryan McNutt photo)

It’s about keeping the air fresh and clean for everyone who works, studies and visits campus.

New posters and signage going up around Dal’s Halifax campuses this fall remind members of the Dal community that the campuses are smoke-free, and to respect one another in helping “clear the air.”

“We all have a responsibility to help keep campus a respectful environment,” says Ian Nason, vice-president finance and administration. “We wanted to take the opportunity this year to remind the Dal community that our campus is smoke-free.”

The outdoor signs are being posted at key locations on the Halifax campuses, with posters distributed across campus.  (A small number of extra posters are available, and can be picked up from the Communications and Marketing office.)

Dalhousie became a no-smoking university — inside and outside — 14 years ago. At the time, Dal was the first university in Canada to take such a step but, in the ensuing years, it’s been joined by many others — from local schools like Saint Mary’s to other universities across the country like McMaster, which recently announced it will be going smoke free in 2018.

Being respectful of others

Being a smoke-free campus means that members of the university community and visitors who wish to smoke are asked to leave university property.

In doing so, they are also asked to be respectful of municipal bylaws, provincial legislation as well as the wishes of neighbouring residents, businesses and institutions. (The Nova Scotia Smoke-Free Places Act, for example, requires smokers to be 4 metres or more away from windows, air intake vents and entrances to places of employment.)

Dalhousie makes an exception to its smoke-free status in the case of tobacco or related substances used in connection with culturally significant celebrations, such as those conducted by members of First Nations communities. There are also still some designated smoking areas on the Agricultural Campus in Truro that pre-date the merger between the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Dalhousie. The university’s smoke-free policy also applies to vaping and marijuana.

It’s too early to know more about Dal’s approach on pending marijuana legislation (expected next year), but it would be based on federal and provincial laws and would take into account any policies on campus that would have an impact.

Support to quit

The university, through its partners, also offers supports for students, faculty and staff interested in quitting smoking:

  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to access resources through Dal’s Employee and Family Assistance Plan
  • Students who are interested in quitting smoking are invited to contact Student Health & Wellness (SH&W). They can see a nurse or physician and seek information and support. SH&W is in the process of developing new online/in-person initiatives as well.

Additional resources are available through the Government of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.


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