University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

site header

Policy on Smoking at Queen's University

In May, 1987, the Vice-Principal (Services) referred to the Central Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee the task of recommending policies and procedures on smoking in Queen's University. The Committee conducted a survey of staff and faculty members and prepared a draft policy statement that was published in the Gazette in October with the request for comments and suggestions. The draft policy called for Queen's to be a totally smoke-free institution after an interim period during which smoking would be permitted only in designated lounge areas; the University was asked to assist smokers by providing workshops and paying the fees of those who stopped smoking for a minimum of six months.

By referendum approximately two-thirds of students favoured a smoke-free campus. A majority of respondents to the draft policy statement agreed that smoking should be prohibited in most workplaces and public areas. They were concerned however not to interfere with the right of individuals to smoke in designated areas or where others would not be affected. After review of the many comments received in response to publication of the draft policy in the Gazette, the Committee reaffirmed its recommendation that Queen's become a smoke-free environment after a transition period and that assistance be provided to smokers to help them stop.

After review of the relevant material and the smoking policies of other universities in Canada, the following is the recommended policy on smoking at Queen's University.

Policy Statement

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and disability in Canada. Medical evidence indicates that exposure to second-hand smoke can be hazardous to health.

To enable the University to fulfill its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment for faculty, staff and students, it is necessary that policies be implemented to reduce involuntary exposure to harmful substances produced by smoking tobacco. This is in accordance with the will of the majority as expressed by a survey of faculty and staff members and a referendum vote by students.

Therefore, effective 1 July 1988, smoking is prohibited in University buildings and facilities, including student residences, except for designated areas or private rooms where ventilation prevents others from being exposed to second-hand smoke. Areas in which smoking is permitted may be designated individually by Departments or, for public areas, by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety. To assist employees who wish to stop smoking, the University will sponsor smoking-cessation workshops. The cost of attending the workshops will be reimbursed for those who remain non-smokers for at least six months.

The long-term goal is that Queen's University become a totally smoke-free environment.


The goal of the policy is not to dictate to individuals what they can and cannot do - the goal of the policy is to provide a safe and healthy environment for all employees.

It is not whether you smoke, it's where or when you smoke.

Responsibilities and Compliance

It is important to realize that cutting down on smoking can be extremely difficult. We will all be working with people who are attempting to curb their smoking during working hours.

Give them support! Those who wish to stop smoking may need to try several times. Quitting smoking is not a single event, it's a process.

Responsibility for implementation of the policy rests with the individual (department head director, manager) in charge of a given area. If someone is smoking in non-smoking area, the best initial approach would be a direct, courteous reminder to the person and a request to refrain from smoking. A group request is often more effective than an individual one. If there is a persistent problem, contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

Smoke-free Areas

Effective 1 July 1988 smoking is prohibited everywhere except designated areas.

Prohibited areas include:

  • all rooms used as meeting areas
  • any areas with 'No Smoking' signs
  • classrooms
  • corridors
  • counter areas
  • elevators
  • gymnasia
  • laboratories
  • lecture and seminar rooms
  • library reading and stack rooms
  • mechanical rooms
  • general offices
  • reception areas
  • service lines
  • shop and service areas
  • stairs
  • storage areas
  • theatres and areas used as theatres
  • washrooms

Smoke-Cessation Programs

If you wish to use this policy to achieve a personal goal of quitting smoking, Queen's University is committed to helping you. The University, through an EAP, sponsors smoke cessation programs for those who wish to stop smoking. For information or to register, call Homewood Health at 1.800.663.1142 or 1.866.398.9505 (Numéro sans frais - en français).