Health and Wellness

Questions about Smoking

Why Clear Air measures on campus?
Western’s goal is to provide a healthy, clean campus environment for those who study, live, work and visit here.

What is different?
Western is doing a few things that are new:

What happens to people who smoke in areas where smoking is not allowed?
We hope people will comply with Western’s smoking policy, and when they don’t, we hope others will remind them. Our focus though, is less on enforcement of the policy, and more on creating a culture of respect.  We hope to create an atmosphere where smokers will become more conscious of how their smoking affects others, and where non-smokers will be more comfortable in (respectfully) letting smokers know if smoke is a problem.  We regularly get emails from individuals who are affected by second hand smoke on campus, but many do not feel comfortable speaking up.

I am a non-smoker who is affected by smoke, and I don't see anybody out enforcing the policy.
It can be challenging to enforce smoking regulations on campus, or anywhere.  Western has approximately 100 buildings and each has many entrances, windows and loading dock areas.  We do approach smokers when we see them, but a short while later, other smokers may appear. It is very helpful if those who are bothered by smoke take a minute to tell a smoker (respectfully) that they are smoking in a place where it is affecting others. Over time, these requests will begin to make smokers aware of how their smoke affects others.

Try this approach:

“Hi – I’m ______, and I am a student here at Western (or I work here).  I am wondering if you know that smoking is not permitted within ten metres of windows or doorways or in Clear Air Corridors?  If you don’t mind moving away I would appreciate that.  I really find the smoke bothers me as I go by.  Thank you!”

What about e-cigarettes?
In July 2016, Western amended its smoking policy to include e-cigarettes.  This means those who vape will be required to follow the same restrictions as regular smokers.  Ontario has passed legislation that, in 2016, will ban the use of e-cigarettes in all areas where smoking is not allowed.

Are you trying to make people quit smoking?
People need to make their own choices about whether they wish to smoke, but when smoking interferes with the health or wellbeing of others on campus, then we should consider what changes may be necessary to achieve clear air and a cleaner campus that all of us can enjoy here at Western.

How many complaints do you get about smokers?
There is not one central place to report smoking complaints. Our Health and Safety team regularly hears from people with concerns about smoking on campus, as well as the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee.  Campus Police, the University Students’ Council, Weldon Library, and leaders in many buildings also have reported complaints received in their offices.  Most concerns are about people who are smoking near doors, windows, air intakes or in Clear Air Corridors.  People sometimes say they have to walk a gauntlet of smokers to get in their building.  Sometimes the smoke actually comes into the building.

What’s the big deal?  Most people don’t mind a little smoke.
For many people, it is a big deal. Some individuals in our Western community have actually had their health compromised as a result of second-hand smoke on campus. Others say they choose their routes on campus to avoid smokers. We can’t fix that all today, but we are working to ‘Clear the Air’ – both by talking about the future of smoking on campus, and by going smoke-free in some high traffic areas.

Is the plan for Western to eventually be completely smoke-free?
We believe Western and all universities will be required to be smoke-free in the coming years.  Western is now considering a smoke-free future and what that would mean.  We do know that change is in the wind. Some of the largest universities in the United States have gone smoke-free, and a few smaller universities in Canada have as well. 

I am a smoker, but I am thinking about quitting.
Great! We hope you will feel better and save money. You will also be taking a big step toward helping us to clear the air on campus.  We’ve got a web page with information about quitting so you can find out how to take that next step.