Smoking - FAQ
Designated smoking areas
How do I know how far the designated smoking area extends?
Smoking is only allowed on campus within the clearly-marked "designated smoking areas". These areas are identified here and via local signage.
UTS Security patrols designated smoking areas and bins are provided for cigarette butts.
What will happen if someone smokes outside a designated smoking area?
The University is using signage, brochures, web information and other communication activities to inform the University community that UTS is a smoke-free campus and the location of designated smoking areas. Following the Smoke-Free Campus launch, UTS acknowledges that when someone smokes outside a designated smoking area, they may be approached by a staff member or student, and reminded that the University is a smoke-free campus. UTS encourages its community to act respectfully when asking someone not to smoke or to move to a designated smoking area. Visitors in particular may be unaware of the new policy and the approach should be informative rather than confrontational.
Individuals who do not feel comfortable approaching someone who is breaching the Public Spaces and Facilities Management Vice-Chancellor's Directive, or where an offender does not comply, may refer the matter to:
- the offender's supervisor or manager (where known); or
- Campus Security
The designated smoking areas are too far away from my work area/lecture theatre - can't more accessible smoking areas be added?
The designated smoking areas have been carefully selected based on consultation with smokers and specific criteria such as:
- requisite distance from main thoroughfares
- even distribution across each campus
- adequate distance from buildings, eating and drinking areas.
The number of designated smoking areas is limited to prevent the University community's exposure to second-hand smoke, thereby providing a healthy and safe environment for all.
As a manager, how do I manage the time lost from the workplace by staff who smoke during normal working hours?
The approach to managing staff who lose work time by going for a cigarette should not be different to what it is now. If a manager finds that a staff member is spending too much time away from their work, over and above their allocation, they should counsel them appropriately, whether they are going for a smoke, to drink coffee or to chat to colleagues etc. It is the individual's choice to smoke and they have to manage this appropriately, in accordance with the Universitys commitment to provide a smoke-free environment and so that it does not impact on their work.
Passive smoke and ventilation
What is passive smoking or second-hand smoke?
Passive smoking is the inhalation of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). ETS is a combination of sidestream smoke, which comes directly from burning tobacco, and mainstream smoke, which is exhaled from the smoker. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and more than 60 of these are known to cause cancer in humans (NSW Health and The Cancer Council Fact Sheet, SHPN (TH) 070207).
For further information on the harmful effects of passive smoking, refer to the Australian Government Department of Health fact sheet: The dangers of passive smoking (opens an external link; PDF, 50 Kb).
Why can't we rely on ventilation to clear the air?
Enclosed or partly enclosed smoking rooms are unsafe. Air conditioning and ventilation systems do not remove all the dangerous components in cigarette smoke. Even if the visible smoke is removed, toxic gases, vapours and small particles of smoke are harmful to health and cannot be removed mechanically.
What does the public think about restricting smoking?
Public opinion consistently supports smoking bans in public places. Increasing community awareness of the harmful effects of second hand smoke, and given that 82% of the NSW population are non-smokers (NSW Population Health Survey 2014, NSW Department of Health), has led the community to accept, and even expect the availability of smoke-free areas.
Cigarettes are a legal product. How can you ban their use at the University?
The University is not banning the use of cigarettes, but restricting their use to remove the negative impact of cigarette smoke on the University community. Mobile phones are also legal products, but cannot be used while driving. Likewise, there are restrictions on where alcohol can be consumed. Restrictions on the use of legal products in certain defined areas protect the safety and amenity of the whole community.
What about the rights of smokers?
Smokers may still smoke but only where their smoke does not cause harm to others. The majority of the Australian population are non-smokers and they have a right to breathe clean air that is uncontaminated by carcinogens and the other harmful substances found in cigarette smoke. Providing a smoke-free environment, support on how to quit, and limited designated smoking areas, protects non-smokers whilst respecting those who choose to smoke.
Acknowledgement to the University of Sydney (opens an external site).