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Queen’s going smoke-free

Smoking, vaping, and tobacco will be prohibited on the university’s Canadian campuses and properties beginning June 1, 2019.

As part of the university’s focus on fostering a culture of wellbeing at Queen’s, smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco products will be banned from its Canadian campuses and properties beginning June 1, 2019.

“The health and well-being of everyone on the Queen’s campus is of utmost importance to me, and to the entire senior university administration,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “We want our community members to feel their best – and living, working, and studying in a smoke-free environment is a key step toward that goal.”

Queen’s joins 82 Canadian universities and colleges that have implemented smoke-free campus policies, according to a 2018 National Status Report by the Canadian Cancer Society. The Queen’s Smoke-Free University Policy also aligns with the university’s adoption of the Okanagan Charter, a formal commitment by the university to the health and wellness of our students, staff, and faculty. 

Queen’s University’s policy applies to students, faculty, staff, contractors, visitors and all others on university property, and prohibits smoking of any substance in any manner, and use of all tobacco products. The policy contains a comprehensive definition of smoking, smoking devices and tobacco products. Allowances will be made available for Indigenous use of traditional medicines, approved teaching and research, and prescribed medical cannabis.

“Through the Smoke-Free University Policy, Queen’s commits to creating a space free of smoke exposure and to supporting those trying to quit with appropriate services and resources,” says Principal Woolf. “More broadly, we seek to shift cultural norms around smoking and to encourage the greater population to make healthier choices that benefit everyone.”

The university is offering assistance to both students and employees seeking smoking cessation supports. Details are available at the Cessation Resources section on the Smoke-Free Queen’s FAQ.

Smoking rates in Canada have declined significantly over the past 50 years, from approximately 50 per cent in 1965 to 18 per cent in 2017, as the direct links between smoking and adverse health effects have become increasingly clear. Still, an estimated 5 million Canadians smoke, and 3.5 million of those people smoke daily. Second-hand smoke also poses significant health hazards.

“Use of tobacco products remains the leading cause of preventable diseases in Canada, claiming more than 45,000 lives annually - that's 125 lives each day,” says Elizabeth Eisenhauer, Queen’s Professor Emerta (Oncology), and member of the Queen’s Clean Air Steering Committee formed to guide the move toward a smoke-free campus. “By adopting this policy, we are advancing health promotion for our campus community and paving the way to a healthier future.”

Learn more about the Queen’s Smoke-Free University Policy and available resources. More information is also available relating to cannabis on campus.