Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

Answers

1. When does the Guelph campus become smoke-free?

U of G's Gueph campus becomes tobacco- and smoke-free on May 31, 2019: World No Tobacco Day.

10. Will employee break time be extended for those who must leave campus to smoke?

Employees are entitled to specific break or meal periods within their respective employee group or collective agreements and the Employment Standards Act. 

Those employees who choose to smoke or use tobacco are not entitled to additional time away from work.

2. Is vaping included in this policy?

Yes, vaping is included in the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy.

3. Is cannabis included in the policy?

Yes, smoking of cannabis is included in the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy with the exception of medicinal cannabis. Learn more about the University of Guelph's Statement on Cannabis Use.

4. How does the University define the boundaries of the Guelph campus in relation to this policy?

The Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy applies to the entire Guelph campus and the Arboretum. A map detailing the smoke-free campus is available on the policy section of this website.

5. How will the policy be enforced?

Starting May 31, 2019, the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy will be enforced by Campus Community Police through education first and in accordance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act as applicable.

The committee heard from other smoke-free institutions that their communities were respectful of their smoke-free policies. The advisory committee expects the same will be true at the Guelph campus.

7. Who does the tobacco- and smoke-free campus policy apply to?

The University’s Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors on the Guelph campus.

8. Are there exceptions to the policy?

The Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy provides exemptions for:

  • a person who smokes or holds lighted tobacco in a scientific research and testing facility for conducting research or testing with tobacco or tobacco products
  • any Aboriginal person, or persons accompanied by an Aboriginal person, smoking tobacco or holding lit tobacco for a traditional Aboriginal cultural or spiritual ceremony
8. What smoking cessation supports are available to me?

Information on smoking cessation resources available to the U of G community can be found here:

10. Are the Ridgetown and Guelph-Humber campuses and U of G research stations also going smoke-free?

The current Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy applies only to the Guelph campus. Once the policy is in place, the University will work with Ridgetown and the research stations to determine the possibility of developing smoke-free policies that meet their distinct needs.

The University of Guelph-Humber became smoke-free on Jan. 1, 2019.

12. How is the University ensuring the safety of those who must leave campus at night to smoke?

The University has taken steps to ensure that our campus and surrounding community is a safe place for all students, employees and visitors.

  • Current physical safety measures on campus include outdoor lighting and blue emergency poles that instantly connect users to Campus Community Police.
  • The Safe Gryphon app is available free on the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). It offers personal safety tools that are useful for everyone at all hours.
    • The Work Alone feature automatically checks in on you when you’re working by yourself and can trigger a call to your emergency contact if you fail to check in at set times.
    • Friend Walk sends your location in real time to a friend, so they can watch you as you walk to your destination. The friend can trigger a call to emergency services if needed.

If you have concerns about safety anywhere on campus, please share these through smokefree@uoguelph.ca.

12. Why are all forms of tobacco included in the policy?

A tobacco-free policy eliminates any confusion about what is or is not allowed on campus.

Being tobacco-free emphasizes the health of everyone, including users of smokeless tobacco.

Use of chewing tobacco endangers users' health as it can cause various cancers and oral health problems.

Prohibiting chewing tobacco use on campus also helps reduce waste (i.e., used tobacco, tobacco containers, spit containers, spit on sidewalks, etc.).

Completely tobacco-free campuses help change social norms about the acceptability of tobacco use.

14. Are students or employees expected to quit smoking?

No. The University of Guelph does not mandate that anyone quit smoking or stop using tobacco products. The purpose of the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy is to create a healthier campus for everyone.

The University is committed to supporting those who want to manage their tobacco use and those who choose to quit using tobacco products. Smoking cessation resources for students and employees are available on the Smoke-Free Campus website.

14. Why don’t we have designated smoking areas?

As a tobacco- and smoke-free campus, the Guelph campus does not have designated smoking areas.

Research shows that venues with designated smoking areas expose the community to markedly higher levels of second-hand smoke1.

A study from Stanford University2 found that outdoor designated smoking areas where multiple people smoke have toxic air levels equal to indoor spaces where people smoke.


World Health Organization. (2003). Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Geneva, Switzerland.

2 Klepeis NE, Ott WR, Switzer P. Real-time measurement of outdoor tobacco smoke particles. J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2007;57:522-534.

17. Does this policy violate my right to smoke and personal choice?

Smoking is a personal decision rather than a protected right. The Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy does not remove an individual’s choice to smoke, but it prohibits the use of tobacco products and smoking on the Guelph campus.

17. If people can’t smoke on campus, will there be large groups of people smoking on the city sidewalks?

Based on what was shared in community consultations, the University does not expect large crowds of people will gather to smoke on city sidewalks when this policy is implemented.

The number of people who smoke on campus is low enough that sidewalk crowds are not likely. Individuals follow different smoking routines, including when and where they smoke. Currently, those who smoke are not generally congregating in large groups on campus.

U of G is committed to maintaining positive relationships with our community and neigbours. Those who smoke in areas surrounding the University should not litter, loiter or trespass. Receptacles have been placed at the perimeter of campus for proper disposal of cigarette butts. Property owners have the right to enforce their boundaries.

18. Will the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy affect neighbouring businesses and the community?

U of G is committed to maintaining positive relationships with our community and neigbours. Those who smoke in areas surrounding the University should not litter, loiter or trespass. Receptacles have been placed at the perimeter of campus for proper disposal of cigarette butts. Property owners have the right to enforce their boundaries.

During the consultation phase of the smoke-free campus initiative, the steering committee had discussions with neighbourhood groups and businesses. Representatives of the committee will continue to meet with these groups to monitor any impacts from the policy.

19. Why did the University of Guelph choose to become a smoke-free campus?

To counter the negative effects of tobacco use on our University community, U of G developed a Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy that takes effect May 31, 2019.

In 2017, the University of Guelph formally adopted the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health-Promoting Universities and Colleges. Through the Charter, U of G reaffirms its commitment to “transforming the health and sustainability of our current and future societies, strengthening communities, and contributing to the well-being of people, places and the planet.” Creating a smoke-free campus is an important step in meeting that commitment.

The first call to action from the Charter involves “embedding health into all aspects of our campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates.” The Charter also encourages us to lead health promotion locally and globally (Okanagan Charter, 2015).

As a University committed to improving life, we consider it important to foster an environment, policies and practices that support the health of our students, staff, faculty and visitors.

Smoking remains the single greatest cause of preventable disease and death in the province, killing about 13,000 Ontarians each year (SFO Modernization, 2017). Research shows there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, even outdoors (World Health Organization, 2003).  To counter the negative effects of tobacco product use on our University community, U of G will develop a smoke-free campus policy.

Through a smoke-free campus initiative, there are opportunities to:

  • promote clean air, a healthful environment and healthy behavioural choices
  • prevent students from starting to smoke
  • encourage those who use tobacco products to quit or decrease use and support those who have quit (CYAN, 2016).

References

California Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN). Tobacco-Free Policy Rationale: Information for Colleges and Universities Considering Adopting a Tobacco-Free Policy. [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2018 Feb 16]. Available from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/582cd52d2994caad8bdc9000/t/58796f5429687f8f4b982d53/1484353377578/CYAN+Tobacco+Free+Policy+Rationale+2016+Update.pdf

Executive Steering Committee. Smoke-Free Ontario Modernization: Report of the Executive Steering Committee. [Internet]. 2017 October. [cited 2018 March 1]. Available from: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/ministry/publications/reports/sfo_modernization_esc_2017/sfo_modernization_esc_report.pdf

Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health-Promoting Universities and Colleges. [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2018 March 1]. Available from http://internationalhealthycampuses2015.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/01/Okanagan-Charter-January13v2.pdf

World Health Organization. (2003). Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Geneva, Switzerland.

20. Where can I learn more about the research supporting a smoke-free campus?

The Smoke-Free Campus committee, in collaboration with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, developed a short summary of the scientific rationale for a smoke-free campus.   

Read the Research Rationale.

21. Who was included in the discussion about a smoke-free campus?

In November 2017, U of G’s vice-president (finance, administration and risk) initiated a discussion about U of G becoming smoke-free. He formed an advisory committee consisting of a cross-section of senior administration, staff and community experts. This committee met monthly to develop a smoke-free campus policy.

The committee provided strategic direction and leadership, and focused on planning, implementation, evaluation, communication and sustainability of a tobacco- and smoke-free campus policy.

The committee consulted extensively with the University community for help in shaping the Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy and to help guide the committee's efforts in education and awareness.

22. Have other Canadian universities developed smoke-free policies?

Across North America, there is growing momentum toward smoke-free environments. In April 2018, 65 Canadian post-secondary institutions prohibited smoking anywhere on campus, more than double the number from 2017. By April 2019, this number had grown to 85 Canadian post-secondary institutions.

In Ontario, McMaster University became the first university to be completely smoke-free.

In the U.S., more than 1,400 post-secondary institutions are smoke-free, including large universities such as the University of Kentucky, University of Michigan and the University of Oregon.

22. How did the smoke-free campus committee gather input?

The committee consulted with the University community by reaching out to various employee and student groups during an 18-month period. Learn more about the consultation process.

Community members were invited to share their thoughts by emailing smokefree@uoguelph.ca and using the website’s comment form.

The committee also studied and assessed the benefits, opportunities and challenges involved in becoming a smoke-free campus at other post-secondary institutions.

24. How were updates from the smoke-free campus committee communicated?

Updates from the advisory committee were shared on the Smoke-Free Campus website, the University intranet and through email as appropriate.

Signage was also installed in common smoking areas to provide updates. Signs updated quarterly.

6. What should I do if I see someone smoking on campus?

As our community adjusts to our Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus policy, education is key. Not everyone may realize that we are a tobacco- and smoke-free campus or what that means.

If you have concerns about someone smoking, vaping or using smokeless tobacco on campus, you can contact Campus Community Police at 519-824-4120 ext. 52245.