Ottawa

U of O eyeing total smoking ban

The University of Ottawa is considering a campus-wide smoking ban, but administrators acknowledge enforcement will be a challenge because of the school's busy downtown location.

Survey found 69% of students, staff favour smoke-free campus

The University of Ottawa is considering a campus-wide smoking ban. (CBC)

The University of Ottawa is considering a campus-wide smoking ban, but administrators acknowledge enforcement will be a challenge because of the school's busy downtown location.

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., announced plans last week to ban smoking on all its campuses starting Jan. 1, 2018.

We're a public campus, we're downtown, we don't have walls and we aren't a gated campus.- Michael Histed, University of Ottawa

Michael Histed, director of risk management at the University of Ottawa, said a survey conducted of students and staff in the spring found 69 per cent in favour of a complete smoking ban.

Administrators estimate the campus is already 80 per cent smoke-free due to a nine-metre smoking restriction around its buildings.

The university's medical school at the General campus of the Ottawa Hospital will also become smoke-free as Ontario moves to prohibit smoking on all hospital properties in the new year.  

Downtown location presents challenge

Histed acknowledged there will be challenges to overcome before the downtown campus is declared entirely smoke-free. 

"Enforcement is always a big issue. We're a public campus, we're downtown, we don't have walls and we aren't a gated campus," Histed said. "So how do we deal with those types of issues?"

Histed said there are many questions still to be worked out, including deciding on possible penalties for people caught smoking on campus.  

He said he'd like to see smoking cessation programs such as Leave the Pack Behind, a provincially funded campaign aimed at students, expanded to include staff at the university.  

Carleton, Algonquin to review policies

Histed acknowledge another hurdle will be deciding how the policy will apply to smokers of medical marijuana.

"It's something that is certainly being looked at."

Algonquin College, with campuses in Ottawa, Perth and Pembroke, has no immediate plans to change its smoking policy, which prohibits smoking within 15 meters of buildings but does provide smoking shelters in designated areas.

The college has a mandatory review of its smoking policy set for May 21, 2019.  

Carleton University said there are no formal discussions about making its campus smoke-free. A mandatory review of its smoking policy is set for October 2019.  

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