University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne is
expecting few problems achieving compliance when the
university's Dunedin campus becomes completely smoke-free
The University Council yesterday endorsed earlier plans to
make the campus completely smoke-free from January 1. The
university's previous smoking policy, introduced in 2010,
already bans smoking within 6m of any building in the Dunedin
Prof Hayne recommended all Otago University campuses be
designated ''smoke-free areas'' from January 1, in a report
considered at the council meeting.
Council member Roger Tobin asked how the policy would apply
to associated residential colleges, which provide
accommodation for Otago students but are not owned by the
Prof Hayne said such colleges had already agreed to comply
with all university policies.
Council member Judge Oke Blaikie asked what penalties were
being considered. He envisaged few problems with compliance
but wondered if issues could arise after a strongly addicted
smoker had been drinking. Prof Hayne said any penalties had
not yet been decided but she was not expecting ''any huge
issue'' with compliance.
There was ''a lot of social pressure [to comply] in
''People just want to know what the rules are.''
Asked by a council member why the policy was not being
introduced immediately, Prof Hayne said the latest
international research had been taken into account in the
The university would accordingly be providing a ''huge amount
of support'' for any staff and students who wanted to give up
smoking, Prof Hayne said.
Prof Janet Hoek, of the Otago University marketing
department, said smoking remained a major health problem in
New Zealand, causing 5000 deaths each year, as well as a
great deal of sickness and reduced quality of life.
Prof Hoek, deputy director of the ASPIRE2025 tobacco control
research collaboration, said international research suggested
some smokers at Otago University would give up moking, given
the smoke-free policy.
And younger students would be less likely to start smoking
because they would see fewer other people smoking, she said.
One US study compared a fully smoke-free American tertiary
campus and another which was not smoke-free, and found
significantly lower smoking rates among people at the former.