Monash has become the latest university to announce it is implementing a campus-wide smoking ban.
The decision, announced today, follows other Victorian universities forcing students to butt out.
RMIT’s smoke-free policy will be rolled out on 31 May. While the consequences of smoking after the ban have not been announced yet, RMIT Security told Catalyst that smokers will incur fines on campus.
University is commencing the ban in stages, with smoking restricted to designated smoking areas as of July 2014 – before a complete ban takes place in 2016. RMIT’s Brunswick and Bundoora campuses will also have assigned smoking points.
“If they put one designated area here it would be a good thing,” RMIT student Hugo Hodge said in regards to the city campus.
Monash Student Association’s President, Ben Knight, believes that the smoking ban will impact the safety of students.
“You have a lot of issues around students studying late at the library,” he said. “Past sunset it’s quite problematic forcing students off campus.”
Luckily for staff, students and visitors at RMIT who do smoke, the CBD campus will not prohibit smoking in public areas such as Bowen and Swanston Streets. Many RMIT students, like Hodge, believe that the ban won’t cause an issue “because you can smoke in the street, as we’re located in the
Professor Mike Daube, Professor of Health Sciences at Curtin University, believes that a complete smoking ban protects staff and students.
“We know restrictions on smoking makes a significant difference and protects health of students and staff,” he said.
Curtin University has been smoke-free since 2012 and offers educational programs for those seeking to quit smoking, alongside counselling. Professor Daube says these services are very important.
“It doesn’t need to be a billion dollar education program, but one that works well. Prepare people, let them know in advance, give people a bit of time, have an education program to go with it, and offer people help to quit.”
Dr Becky Freeman, Lecturer at the University of Sydney, claims that second-hand smoking isn’t the issue at bay.
“Universities have chosen to ban smoking outdoors because one: role modelling, and two: claiming this is something that the community doesn’t tolerate anymore.”
By Rushani Epa
Photograph by Alan Weedon