TOUGHER SMOKING RULES PROPOSED
New policy going to Board of Governors bans smoking at doorways & stadium
By Lawrence McMahen
The U of S is beefing up its anti-smoking rules on campus to comply with, and in some cases even surpass, tough new city and provincial smoking laws.
A new policy regulating smoking has been drafted by the Department of Health, Safety and Environment (DHSE) and will go to the University’s Board of Governors for consideration at its next meeting, April 8.
While the current campus policy, set in 1991, simply said University buildings and vehicles are “designated as non-smoking”, the new policy will go much farther.
It states: “Smoking is prohibited in all University buildings, parts of buildings, enclosed spaces, leased spaces, University-owned or leased vehicles, outdoor seating areas that are part of a restaurant or licenced facility, and at Griffiths Stadium. Smoking is prohibited within a 10-metre perimeter of any University building or ventilation air intake and other outdoor areas where posted.”
Community Safety Manager Janice Lavoie says the policy is an effort to update campus smoking rules and get in line with the July 1, 2004 City of Saskatoon Smoking Control Bylaw and the Jan. 1, 2005 provincial Tobacco Control Act amendments which ban smoking in virtually all public areas, including bars, restaurants and their outdoor patios.
Lavoie says the U of S wants to go the extra step of banning smoking at Griffiths Stadium and near buildings and air intakes because it wants to be a leader on the issue and because DHSE has had complaints from the campus community about discomfort caused by second-hand smoke from people smoking just outside of buildings.
“We’ve had constant complaints from people in buildings near doorways, windows and air intakes where the smoke is being brought in,” Lavoie says. “We’ve had many, many requests for this action.”
She notes Saskatoon District Health recently ruled that there be no smoking anywhere on its grounds.
Diedre Wasyliw, a support staff member in the Biology Department office, says smokers who congregate outside of the south door of Biology and on the loading dock behind Physics have been a problem for a long time because the smoke comes into the building and is very noticeable.
“We’ve tried to ban them from the doorways because they’re right by our air intakes,” Wasyliw says, but the ban hasn’t been successful.
Lavoie says when the expected 10-metre ban around the perimeter of buildings comes into effect, the cement ashtrays near many building doorways on campus will either be moved farther away or removed.
She says there will also be more vigilant monitoring of the Agriculture building’s underground parkade where some people continue to smoke in violation of an already existing ban.
The U of S joins a growing trend among Canadian universities to strengthen its restriction of smoking. Dalhousie University in Halifax and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay prohibit smoking anywhere on campus.
But while the U of S is further banning smoking, and also has the distinction of being one of the few universities in the country where students won’t hold tobacco-sponsored events, cigarettes are still sold at campus stores. Bookstore Assistant Manager Mike McEwen says last month about 1,700 packs of cigarettes were sold at the Centre Shop in Place Riel, the North 40 in Agriculture and the Arts Tuck Shop.
McEwen says while the cigarette sales don’t make a lot of profit for the University, they do meet a steady demand by those students, faculty, staff and visitors who smoke. He said it’s an issue of providing service to those people.