Nova Scotia

Cape Breton University restricts smoking areas ahead of cannabis legalization

Cape Breton University plans to further restrict where people can smoke, or smoke up, on campus.

University doesn't want people to think they have the right to smoke cannabis wherever they want

Cape Breton University is restricting smoking to two areas on campus this month. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Cape Breton University plans to further restrict where people can smoke — or smoke up — on campus.

The university has updated its smoking policy just in time for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Right now, smoking is prohibited inside buildings or within eight metres of any building entrance.

Beginning Oct. 17, smoking of cigarettes, e-cigarettes or marijuana will be restricted to two designated outdoor areas.

That's the day that recreational pot use becomes legal in Canada.

"This kind of forced our hand," said John Mayich, the university's director of student affairs. 

"What we're hoping is that people are not going to feel it's their right to be able to smoke and consume cannabis anywhere that they choose."

Mayich said CBU's smoking policy was last updated in 2009. He said the previous policy was difficult to enforce, given that security personnel had to keep an eye on entrances to buildings across the entire campus.

Posters have been plastered across campus, alerting people of the new policy and showing the locations of the new smoking areas. 

One will be behind one of the CBU residences. Another will be adjacent to a main parking lot.

Mayich said officials at the university considered going completely smoke-free but decided against it, given the campus's location next to the busy Sydney-Glace Bay highway.

"You know, we could ask people to remove themselves completely from our property, and they would be going to a sidewalk on a highway that sees probably 25,000 cars a day, and then winter driving conditions. It was very much a safety concern for us."

On campus, many students shrugged and said they'd heard of the new smoking policy but didn't know the details.

Max Legere and his friend Kyle Foster both use e-cigarettes, but said they agree with a policy that keeps all smoking restricted to designated areas.

"If you don't smoke, like, no one wants to be walking by any type of smoke really," said Legere. "Second-hand smoke is very terrible for you."

Foster agreed.

"I don't think second-hand marijuana smoke is as dangerous for you," he said. "But I think it should be lumped together because it is smoke."

The university has updated other policies in advance of the legalization of marijuana.

Those policies prohibit cannabis from being grown in residence and prohibit employees from using cannabis during work hours or on university property.

The university also said it expects students and employees to be unimpaired, either in class or on the job.


Wendy Martin


Wendy Martin has been a reporter for nearly 30 years. Her first job in radio was at the age of three, on a show called Wendy's House on CFCB Radio in Corner Brook, N.L. Get in touch at