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Ashing out campus smoking

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Smoking of any kind will be prohibited on all UFV campuses and properties come Oct. 1. The ban includes vaping and smoking inside vehicles, and there will be no designated smoking zones on campus.

The ban does have to do with the nearing national legalization of marijuana, with it providing a definite timeline, but UFV had been planning to enact a smoke-free policy, Dave Pinton, UFV director of communications, said.

“UFV wants to be a healthy environment for everyone and secondhand smoke is almost as bad as smoking,” Pinton said. “We want to ensure that, like many Canadian universities, we provide the cleanest air we can for all of our students, staff, and faculty. There’s been a bunch of universities that have gone this route.”

UFV’s website cites the campus and global environment, health, reduction of greenhouse gases released by smoking, and reduction of deforestation caused by tobacco production as the benefits of a smoke-free campus.  

Designated smoking areas are not a part of the new policy because a truly smoke-free campus doesn’t have an appropriate place for smoking anywhere, Pinton said.  

“We want to make sure that it’s a healthy environment and that students have a chance to have the healthiest lifestyle they can. It’s up to them whether they quit smoking or not.”

Pinton said that UFV recognizes the difficulty in quitting and will offer some supports to aid in the process for those that choose to.

“It’s a tough one. We recognize that,” he said.

Student Services will provide cessation and counseling for students who wish to stop smoking. UFV faculty and staff benefits include up to $500 in smoking cessation products for a lifetime, but Pinton said they are looking at renewing that benefit for employees who have already used it, on a case-by-case basis.

UFV’s employee and family assistance program also offers quitting assistance programs. The provincial government will provide a 12-week supply of cessation products each calendar year.

For UFV employees who won’t have enough time to leave campus during their break, they may discuss arrangements with their supervisors, Pinton said.

Until Oct. 1, smoking and vaping is allowed on UFV campuses and properties, but is prohibited near doors and windows.

Image: The Cascade

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