Success, or smoke-free mess?

by | Jan 21, 2019 | Guelph-Humber, Headlines, News, North

Rachael Taylor, News Reporter
Druv Sareen, Biz-Tech Reporter

Students started the new semester expecting the smoking ban to be enforced. Instead, smokers who sneak drags between classes have been met with passive enforcement.

Humber announced the Jan. 1 smoking ban in October. No one can smoke tobacco or cannabis anywhere on school property, including the Arboretum.

Andrew Leopold, Humber’s director of communications, said he’s confident in the ban’s implementation.

“So far so good, the Humber community has taken our new smoke-free campus to heart,” Leopold said. “We haven’t experienced any issues.”

The punishment for those caught smoking matches the administration’s optimism.

“When individuals on campus may be caught smoking, what we’re trying to do initially is raise awareness and education around the smoke-free campus and smoke-free policy, “ Leopold said.

Students at Humber sneak a cigarette on the new smoke-free campus on January 15th 2019. (Druv Sareen)

When students are caught smoking or suspected to have been smoking, security and public safety will hand them a card to remind them this is a smoke-free campus.

The card, donning the Humber and University of Guelph-Humber logos, has “Welcome to our smoke-free campus!” on the front, and information about how to submit an accommodation request for smoking on the back.

Leopold said the cards are meant to be an educational tool.

“Our security team do have cards that have some information about the plan and some resources that can help individuals learn more about smoking cessations services and other resources that they might need,” Leopold said.

Cassie Peterson, a second-year film student, was handed one of these cards.

“I was in the back part with other students, we had just gone out for a smoke break and had just finished, we saw security giving a piece of paper to someone and we asked if they handed the students a ticket but security said they couldn’t hand out tickets,” Peterson said.

She is critical of the cards.

“It’s not effective. It’s just letting people know. I guess the most effective part is when they initially approach people because you get scared,” Peterson said. “People are still gonna continue smoking.”

Leopold said decisions have not been made but the college has consulted outside organizations about ticketing.

“We’ve consulted Toronto Public Health, who have also given us some resources on it,” he said. “There are a number of external experts and external partners we can work with, all part of our discussion, but no decisions are made yet.”