York University Puffing out on-campus smoking

On November 14, a one-day print survey, the ‘1 Day Talk Survey,’ was; released to gather voluntary and anonymous perspectives across York on the community’s thoughts; on a smoke-free campus.

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Initiated by Leave the Pack Behind and Toronto Public Health’s ‘1 Day Stand’ event on the same day, the survey was introduced due to the fact a growing number of Canadian post-secondary institutions have adopted smoke-free policies on their campuses.

Recent research from the Canadian Cancer Society has found that about 65 Canadian post-secondary institutions have completely prohibited smoking on their campuses, including outdoors.

A statement by Director, Health, Safety and Employee Well-Being, Teresa DuCroix; writes: “York University values the health, safety; and well-being of our community members, and would like to begin a dialogue about smoking on campus.

“The vice-provost students (Health Education and Promotion) and vice-president, finance and administration (Health, Safety and Employee Well-Being) are partnering to begin this dialogue. The exploration will be a multi-year, consultative, and iterative process.”

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York

The survey asks students on which level (from strongly disagree to strongly agree) that they agree with statements such as: “A smoke-free campus infringes on the rights of smokers,” “York University should adopt a smoke-free policy,” and “A smoke-free campus will improve the health of the whole community,” among several others.

However, some see issues with a proposal that would ban smoking from campus grounds. Second-year software engineering student, Kary Pelly, adds: “I’m a smoker; I would have to walk really far if I had to go all the way off campus to smoke.”

To improve smoking regulations at York, a number of students suggest a separate; designated smoking area to be implemented on campus.

First-year biomedical science student, Minha Haqqi, says; “If they just made a spot or an area just for them—maybe three or four places, because the campus is; so huge.

“Whatever they need to feel accommodated would be fair to both parties.”

Matthew Angel, a first-year film production student, echoes these sentiments: “I think a designated spot would work—maybe they can still do it in public, but maybe just away from the main paths, where everyone is walking.”

Regarding whether a smoke-free campus could potentially impact smokers’ rights, first-year law student, Mavra Choudhry, says: “I think you get a two-way street—if someone who needs to smoke because it is an addictive behaviour is unable to, it will be difficult for them.

However, people who don’t want to have smoke in their lungs also have the right to not be; exposed to that health risk, so I think it does infringe on their right, but the opposite consideration should be; taken into account. It depends on which one is more significant, and which one would overwhelm the other.”

While print versions of the survey are no longer available, its online version will be open until November 26.

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