It’s official: after years of smoking on campus, smokers at King’s College will soon have to light up somewhere else.
On July 31, an email was sent to the King’s community announcing a non-smoking policy on campus. A temporary designated smoking area — located between the New Academic Building and Radical Bay — will be available until August 2016. After that period smoking will be banned everywhere on campus.
“I think it’s good,” said Tim Ross, a King’s staff member who smokes.
“It makes no difference to me. I can just go somewhere else, or I can just go without.
“You might get one or two people that would be really, really upset, but (the smoking ban is) everywhere. It’s at the hospital, it’s at Dal, it’s everywhere else. It’s becoming the norm.”
Pat McCutcheon, a non-smoking student at King’s, was happy to hear about the new policy.
“Cliché response: it’s about time!” said McCutcheon.
“As a student who lived on campus… it was kind of gross, because everyone would smoke near the doors anyway, so you’d just have to inhale that all the time.”
King’s joins the ranks of other smoke-free campuses in Nova Scotia. Dalhousie, which became smoke-free in 2003, says it’s the first Canadian university to completely ban smoking on campus. Acadia University and Saint Mary’s University have also implemented smoke-free policies.
Dean of Students Nick Hatt, who chairs the King’s Occupational Health and Safety committee, said campus smoking has been an ongoing issue for people with allergies or sensitivities.
“I did Foundation Year in 1997, and it was an issue then. I remember the president’s secretary putting up signs outside the A&A building, asking people to please not smoke on the A&A steps because it was blowing right back into the building.”
More recently, King’s implemented cigarette stops around campus — thin, pole-like bins for cigarette butts — to encourage smokers to move away from windows and building entrances. Despite this, Hatt said there are still complaints about smoke wafting into buildings.
Alex Doyle, director of facilities, said campus smoking has also posed problems for recruitment at King’s.
“Most parents who are bringing their 18-year-old or 17-year-old to the university are not too happy to see smokers on the campus.”
In addition to conference services now offered at King’s, Doyle said there are plans to offer summer camps and programs for children making this policy all the more crucial.
“We can’t have smoking on campus if we have kids on campus.”
Doyle said the university will enforce the non-smoking policy gently, with campus security and Patrol reminding people to respect the new rules.
“We just have to get through this one-year transition period, and I hope everyone can move toward making a smoke-free campus.”