Risk and Safety Services

Risk and Safety Services

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Smoke-Free Queen's FAQ Page


Why has Queen’s University gone smoke-free?

The decision to go smoke-free aligns with Queen’s University’s focus on fostering a culture of wellbeing for all who live, learn and work at and visit the university.  In January 2019, Queen’s University formally adopted the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health-Promoting Universities and Colleges. Through the Charter, the university has pledged “to create and apply wellness-related policies and programs with demonstrated impact.” Creating a smoke-free campus is an important step in meeting that commitment as the health impacts associated with smoking and second hand smoke are well documented. 

What does smoke-free mean? Does this include cannabis?

For purposes of the policy, the word “smoking” includes the following:

To inhale, exhale, burn, carry, or possess lighted tobacco, cannabis or other herbal products, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco, hookahs or other products capable of being smoked, or to burn, vaporize or atomize any products for inhalation including tobacco or illegal substances.

To whom does this policy apply?

The policy applies to all community members, which includes, but is not limited to Queen’s employees, students, volunteers, visiting professors, contractors, visitors, and other individuals who live, work, study or carry out services on university property.

Does a policy like this violate my right to smoke and personal choice?

A smoke-free campus policy will not restrict an individual’s choice to smoke, but will prohibit the smoking (including vaping) of cannabis and tobacco products on Queen’s University Property.

This initiative is consistent with our goals of supporting good health and wellness.


Where is smoking prohibited? 

View Queen's University's main campus smoke-free boundaries (PDF, 630 KB).

View Queen's University's West Campus smoke-free boundaries (PDF, 329 KB).

If you require the smoke-free boundaries maps in an alternate format, please contact us.

Where can I go to smoke?

Smoking, vaping and the use of tobacco products is prohibited on all university properties. Maps displaying the university’s main and West Campus boundaries are available below.

University properties outside the areas shown on the maps are also subject to this policy. These include but are not limited to the Queen’s University Biological Station (including the Elbow Lake Environmental Educational Centre), the An Clachan apartment buildings, Kennedy Field Station, 136 Grant Timmins Drive (Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory, Waste Transfer Station and Centre for Advanced Gas Combustion Technology), and the Queen’s Family Health Team Clinics.

Community members smoking in areas surrounding the university are expected to maintain a positive relationship with our neighbours and respect adjacent properties. Leaving campus to smoke does not give anyone permission to litter, loiter or trespass on private or public property. Property owners have the right to enforce their boundaries.

Those smoking on public property are expected to respect municipal by-laws (PDF, 168 KB) and provincial smoking legislation.

View Queen's University's main campus smoke-free boundaries (PDF, 630 KB).

View Queen's University's West Campus smoke-free boundaries (PDF, 329 KB).

If you require the smoke-free boundaries maps in an alternate format, please contact us.


Why are there no receptacles or ash trays by areas where people tend to smoke more?

Since smoking and tobacco products are not allowed anywhere on university property, making available ashtrays, butt receptacles, or other collection mechanisms sends the wrong message. Receptacles for butts implies smoking or tobacco use is permitted in a particular location. This would be inconsistent with our policy. Rather, the goal is to promote compliance with the policy through signage and cessation resources and supports. We are intentionally seeking to avoid encouraging or enabling smoking and the use of tobacco products.


Can I smoke or vape tobacco or cannabis in my own vehicle while on university property?

As of June 1, 2019, all smoking, including vaping will be prohibited on Queen’s University property; the prohibition includes inside or outside vehicles while parked on university property.

View Queen's University's main campus smoke-free boundaries (PDF, 630 KB).

View Queen's University's West Campus smoke-free boundaries (PDF, 329 KB).


What about football games, outdoor concerts, or other public events on campus?

All events occurring on Queen’s University property are subject to the Smoke-Free University Policy. This includes, but is not limited to, athletic events, concerts, theatre, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, weddings, etc.

Are employees and students able to smoke or vape tobacco or cannabis off university property and then go to work/class?

All students and employees are required to abide by applicable laws, policies and guidelines, including the Fitness for Work Guideline for employees, and the Student Code of Conduct. Employees are expected to report to the workplace able to perform assigned duties safely and to an acceptable standard, without limitation caused by the use of or after-effects of an Impairing Substance(s).

What about residence members who wish to smoke at night?

Queen’s prioritizes safety for all members of the community and has a variety of measures to keep the campus safe. Nicotine medications such as the patch, gum, lozenges or nasal spray can be used to manage nicotine needs without leaving campus.  Anyone leaving campus is encouraged to take steps to be safe.  More information on campus safety can be found here.

Were designated outdoor smoking areas considered?  

Yes, the university considered outdoor smoking areas during the consultation process when developing the Policy.  Designated smoking areas do not align with our commitment to promote a healthy and safe environment for all. Allowing any smoking on campus, including in designated areas, would expose students, visitors, and employees to second-hand smoke. Research shows that designated smoking areas can also compromise quit attempts since seeing others smoking can be a trigger for those who may be trying to reduce or quit tobacco products.



What if I’m a medical cannabis user?

The duty to accommodate extends to individuals with a need to use medical cannabis.

Smoking Medical Cannabis prescribed by a healthcare practitioner is only permitted pursuant to an accommodation plan:      

  • An employee accommodation plan would be entered into in accordance with the Accommodations of Disabilities in the Workplace Policy
  • A student accommodation plan would be entered into pursuant to a valid academic accommodation plan approved by Student Wellness Services, or pursuant to an authorization provided by a health care practitioner under the Cannabis Act



How will this policy be enforced? Will there be penalties?

The university will focus on educating members of the community about the policy and the risks of smoke and second-hand smoke, and will be providing information on where to go for support for those who wish to stop smoking through smoking-cessation programs.

Enforcement measures will depend on the individual’s relationship with the university, the nature of the infraction, and the place in which it occurred.

Will employees and students who violate the policy be disciplined?

All community members are subject to the requirements of this Policy while on university property. The main focus of enforcement will be on voluntary compliance through education, signage, and awareness.  

Individuals who do not comply with this policy may be subject to actions, discipline or sanctions under applicable university policies and procedures. This may include ejection/suspension from venues, non-academic misconduct sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct, employment disciplinary measures, and in severe cases, termination of a person’s relationship with the university, subject to the processes set out in university policies, procedures and applicable collective agreements.

Individuals may also be subject to civil, administrative or criminal action for violations of relevant laws, including municipal by-laws, independent of any university action.

What do I do if I see someone smoking on campus?

All community members are encouraged to educate themselves on this policy and to communicate the policy to other community members. The best initial approach is a direct, courteous reminder to the person and a request to refrain from smoking on campus. If there is a persistent problem, or you are uncomfortable approaching the situation, you can contact Campus Security and Emergency Services at 613-533-6733.

What will the university do to promote compliance?

We will post and maintain appropriate signage throughout University Property. The type and location of the signs shall comply with legislative mandates and align with this policy. Requests for additional signage will be considered and addressed as appropriate.

Plans are in place to remove the cigarette butt boxes from campus.

Campus Security and Emergency Services will monitor compliance, respond to reports of non‐compliance, and advise smokers of the non‐smoking provisions in effect.


Cessation Resources

I know someone who would (or I would) like to quit smoking or vaping. What resources are available at Queen’s University to help? 


Queen’s Student Wellness Services

Talking to a health professional can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully. Students who wish to cut down or quit smoking can make an appointment with a doctor and/or health promotion staff at Student Wellness Services. Through professional advice, coaching and resources you can learn what will work best for you.  Students can cut down or quit smoking with or without the help of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).


Staff and Faculty

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 1.800.663.1142

The EFAP offers employees a program called “Ten Steps to Wellness,” which can incorporate smoking cessation as a goal and provides resources and coaching to assist employees in reaching this goal.

Employee Benefits Plan


Community Resources

KFL&A Public Health

  • Tobacco Information Line: 613-549-1232, ext. 1333 or Toll Free: 1-800-267-7875

Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients (STOP) Program is a province-wide initiative that delivers smoking cessation treatment and counseling support to eligible Ontario smokers who wish to quit smoking.

Government of Canada Quit4Life resources for youth and young adults.

Canadian Cancer Society Smokers’ Helpline (1-877-513-5333) is a free, confidential service offering support and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use.  Get free, non-judgmental, personalized support. Call, text or go online to talk to a Quit Specialist to get the support you want, whenever you want it.

You can register to receive text support by texting "iQuit" to 123456. Text messaging and interpreter services in over 100 languages are also available in Ontario.

Smokers' Helpline serves five provinces and one territory in Canada, including: PEI, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. For quitline services in other provinces, visit www.cancer.ca/quitlines. Funding varies by province/territory, so services may also vary.

Government of Ontario OHIP+ includes some coverage for help for anyone 24 years or younger is not covered by a private plan and wants to quit smoking.

Walk or Run to Quit

Helps tobacco users quit smoking by learning to walk or run 5 km over the course of a 10-week training program. Walking and running can help you overcome withdrawals and cravings while cutting down or quitting smoking.

Smart Phone App 

  • Break it Off

Who do I contact if I have questions about the smoke-free policy?

Explore our Smoke-Free webpages for more information. You can also ask questions or offer suggestions by talking to your manager.