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Frequently Asked Questions

What becoming smoke-free means for University of Otago staff, students and visitors

Responses to some Frequently Asked Questions:

When will the University of Otago become smoke-free?

The University of Otago’s northern campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are already smoke-free, as is its southern campus in Invercargill. The new policy extends to the Dunedin campus, which will become smoke-free on 1 January, 2014.

Why has the University of Otago decided to become smoke-free?

The University of Otago has always sought to provide staff, students and visitors with an outstanding campus environment. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of staff, students and visitors to our campuses - becoming smoke-free reflects this commitment.

A recent survey of staff and students found around 80% of both groups supported a smoke-free campus. The new policy is also a response to these findings.

Where can I find the smoke-free policy?

The new smoke-free policy can be found here.

Who does the smoke-free policy cover?

The policy benefits all staff, students and visitors, including contractors, research participants, volunteers and any other visitors. Everyone on a University of Otago campus, at any time day or night, is expected to respect the smoke-free policy.

How will people know about the new policy?

We will use strategically placed signs to alert visitors to the policy; we have liaised with programmes and initiatives that bring visitors to campus so they can ensure their communications set out details of the new policy. Staff from other organisations coming onto a campus will be advised of the new policy, which will be included in all contracts with external groups.

Where are the boundaries of the Dunedin campus?

All indoor and outdoor areas on each campus are smoke-free. A map of the Dunedin campus smoke-free perimeter is here.

Where can I smoke?

Any person who wishes to smoke will need to leave the University of Otago smoke-free campus and move outside the perimeter to an area that is not smoke-free.

What about University accommodation?

All University of Otago university accommodation is smoke-free. This definition includes all residential colleges and university-owned or managed accommodation.

Who will enforce this initiative?

We are an institution of higher education and believe education will be pivotal to implementing this policy. We will communicate the smoke-free environment through posters, signage, and staff and student publications, and seek voluntary compliance. We will provide an explanation in orientation materials all new employees receive, and will include details of the policy in materials distributed to all outside groups that use university facilities. We encourage everyone who is a member of the University of Otago community to support this policy and take responsibility for implementing it.

What will happen if people continue to smoke on campus?

We prefer to educate all staff, students and visitors about the policy and expect them to respect this in the same was as we expect them to respect all other University policies. Members of the University’s community will remind smokers of the smoke-free policy. In the event of repeated failure to comply with the smoke-free policy, existing disciplinary provisions will apply.

What support will there be for current smokers?

The University of Otago recognises that smoking is a highly addictive behaviour and acknowledges the research evidence that more than 80% of smokers would not smoke, if they could live their lives again. We are offering support to assist those smokers who wish to quit; details of Quit Advisors are available here.

Why are there no designated smoking areas?

The research evidence shows clearly that smoke-free areas are more difficult to maintain when smoking areas also exist. The University aims to promote a healthy campus, and designated smoking areas are inconsistent with this objective. All staff, students and visitors who wish to smoke need to move outside the campus boundaries.

Does this mean I have to quit?

The policy sets out that smoking will not be allowed on university grounds, as defined in the campus maps. Smokers will not be forced to quit smoking. However, the University will support staff and domestic students who choose to quit smoking, by referring them to the Quitline or on-campus Quit Advisors and funding the dispensing  fee payable when Quit Cards are redeemed at nominated pharmacies.

For more information, please refer to the Quitting Resources section of this website

How will this policy make a difference?

All people who quit smoking will realise immediate positive health effects – food will taste better, they will have more energy, and they will have more money. The University will also benefit through healthier staff who have fewer illnesses. We hope the policy will also benefit our student community. The research evidence suggests smoke-free environments encourage people to quit and reduce the chances people will take up smoking.