University of Toronto to ban smoking on campuses


The University of Toronto is banning smoking on campus starting next year.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, smoking tobacco, cannabis and vaping will not be permitted on its three campuses, the university announced Nov. 9.

“We wanted to extend and update our smoking policy to ensure that we have a healthy campus and part of that was to ensure that we didn’t have any smoking on the campus,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, the university’s vice-president of human resources and equity. “The policy that we currently have is decades old.”

The ban does not apply to Indigenous ceremonies or medical accommodations.

The university’s smoking policy was last updated in 1995.

Campuses will designate smoking areas while the university implements the policy, but these will be “transitional” as the school moves toward becoming completely smoke-free, said Hannah-Moffat.

The details of the policy on designated smoking spots will be left up to each campus but these designated spots for people who “feel the need to smoke,”¬†will be a set distance from campus buildings, she said.

At the same time, the university will make smoking cessation services and programs available to staff and students to help them quit. One of these, Green Shield, includes some pharmaceutical coverage and counselling through pharmacists. Students will have access to similar programs through wellness centres on their campuses.

“Our ability to support people’s desires to not continue smoking…will be an important part of this change.,” said Hannah-Moffat.

The policy will go before the university’s governing council for approval in December. Hannah-Moffat said there is no time set for how long the policy will run, but the university will review it in a year.

The ban will make the university one of more than 65 Canadian colleges and universities to go smoke-free.