November 20, 2009 - The University of Auckland will become the country's first smoke-free university next year. (This university is the largest and has the most comprehensive range of courses offered in New Zealand.)
From January 1, 2010 smoking will be banned on all Auckland University campuses and outdoor spaces, including places previously designated as smoking areas. In a revision of its smoke-free policy, the university decided the old policy was not combating risks to non-smokers from passive smoking.
Staff and students were asked for their views on three options - maintaining the status quo, banning smoking within 10m of buildings and facilities or total prohibition. Seventy-five per cent of those who responded supported total prohibition, 13 per cent favoured the status quo and 11 per cent wanted a 10m rule.
About 5000 people a year die in New Zealand from smoking-related illnesse - population as 2008 - 4,268,600.
The new policy aims to eliminate the effects of passive smoking and create a healthier and cleaner environment for staff and students.
Auckland University Student Association vice-president Joe McCrory said the association voted two out of three in favour of the ban. He said the reaction from students has been mixed. Those on medical campuses were largely in favour of the change, but student smokers were not happy at being forced on to the street to indulge. The ban will also affect students living in university accommodation as these areas will become smoke-free. Also included in the ban are the outdoor areas of student cafes and bars.
Mr McCrory said news of the ban had been placed on the student website Cecil and there would be a campaign directed at new students during next year's orientation period.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) smoke-free health promotion team leader Grant Hocking said the university had a real problem with smoke getting into lecture theatres through the air conditioning systems. Hocking: the ban was fantastic. "Life-long learning should be smoke-free."
Reference: University's smoke-free plan first in country by Kara Segedin, NZHerald.co.nz, 11/20/2009.
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