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31/05/2016
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Grant Reynolds, UOW Media Communications Officer, on +61 417 010 350 or grantr@uow.edu.au.

UOW announces smoke-free campus environments

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is going smoke-free next month in a move designed to improve the health and wellbeing of all campus users.

The University Council recently approved the introduction of a smoke-free campus policy, to take effect from 25 July, banning all tobacco products on UOW’s Australian campuses.

The policy includes provision for designated smoking areas, however, it is envisaged that these will be phased out over time. The new measures apply to all forms of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

The policy’s launch coincides with the World Health Organization’s ‘World No Tobacco Day’ (31 May), which emphasises measures to reduce smoking and smoking-related death and diseases.

It recognises that while smoking is a choice, non-smokers on campus have the right to work and study without the effects of second-hand smoke.

The policy was introduced after a consultation with the University community and its introduction will include a campaign of education and awareness, to encourage behavioural change.

Education and awareness initiatives will include smoke-free ambassadors, information in student orientation events and introductory lectures as well as a webpage providing practical information for smokers and non-smokers. 

UOW Chief Administrative Officer Melva Crouch said students and staff had called for the move to a smoke-free campus in recent years and in response, the University has drafted a considered policy that takes into account the potential impacts to campus life and aims to reduce the impact of second hand smoke.

“The policy will deliver significant benefits to the health of campus users including staff, students and visitors, ultimately creating a more pleasant environment that further enhances our beautiful campuses,” she said.

“We recognise the change to a smoke-free university will take some time and during the transition phase it’s important that there is patience and respect. The University facilitates awareness sessions on the available options for smokers wanting to quit.” 

Public Health masters student Ine Seljeseth (pictured above) has been involved in advocating for the smoke-free policy since 2013.

During her time as the President of the Illawarra Public Health Student Society (IPHS) she led a petition for the policy and collected more 800 signatures and letters of support from five Members of Parliament.

“Being aware of the damaging health effects of tobacco use, we felt that a smoke-free campus policy was needed to support a health-promoting campus environment that nurtures the health and wellbeing of all students and staff,” she said.

“The transition into a smoke-free campus will be a gradual change, but I believe it’s an important step to make in supporting the local, national and global efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use and associated harm to health.”

For specific details of the changes visit the UOW Smoke-free website

UOW IN THE NEWS 

  • Public health masters student Ine Seljeseth has been part of the student push for a smoke-free campus.