Queen’s University to ban the use of tobacco on campus

A ‘No Smoking, No Vaping’ sign near Queen’s University Campus and Kingston General Hospital. Photo by Phillip Stafford.


Students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors will no longer be allowed to smoke or vape on any Queen’s University campuses or properties as of Saturday, Jun. 1, 2019.

The University announced it is going ‘smoke-free’ on Friday, Apr. 26, 2019, in an article from Dane Rideout, senior communications officer with Queen’s, which stated that smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco products will be banned from the University’s Canadian campuses and properties.

“The health and well-being of everyone on the Queen’s campus is of utmost importance to me, and to the entire senior university administration,” said Daniel Woolf, the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “We want our community members to feel their best – and living, working, and studying in a smoke-free environment is a key step toward that goal.”

The Smoke-Free University Policy was approved by the University on Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2019, and prohibits the smoking of any substance in any manner, as well as the use of all tobacco products. This includes (but is not limited to) cigarettes, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco, snuff, hookahs, or any vaping devices. This will apply to all conferences and events held on University property, and allowances will be made available for Indigenous or traditional medicines, approved teaching and research, and prescribed medical cannabis, according to the announcement.

The purpose or reason for Smoke-Free University Policy is stated within the policy, and notes that it “aligns with Queen’s University’s focus on fostering a culture of wellbeing for all who live, learn, work at and visit the university.”

“Queen’s University recognizes the health hazards associated with moking, second hand Smoke exposure and the use of Tobacco products. To protect the health and wellbeing of the university community, the university is committed to maintaining a Tobacco and Smoke-free environment,” the Policy reads.

“Research has shown that Smoke-free policies are an effective tool to denormalize the use of recreational tobacco and other inhaled products and to promote health and wellness for Community Members. As well, Smoke-free policies support the process of changing social norms, as making Tobacco use and Smoking less visible within the community helps to establish a Tobacco and Smoke-free culture.”

The Policy also states that those smoking or using tobacco products in areas surrounding the University are “expected to help maintain a positive relationship with university neighbours and to respect neighbouring properties. This includes the expectation to avoid littering, smoking, or using tobacco products in proximity to neighbouring private property if wafting smoke vapour, smell and/or litter can reasonably be expected to interfere with individuals’ use of their private property.”

For those medical cannabis users, smoking cannabis is only permitted for employees if they have entered into an accommodation plan with the Accommodations of Disabilities in the Workplace Policy. For students, the consumption of medical cannabis will only be permitted pursuant to a valid academic accommodation plan approved by Student Wellness Services (students) or pursuant to an authorization provided by a healthcare practitioner under the Cannabis Act.

Queen’s will be offering support for those staff and students looking to quit smoking or consuming tobacco, and has plans to help either parties in determining potential benefit coverage for smoking and tobacco use cessation aids, according to the policy.

“Through the Smoke-Free University Policy, Queen’s commits to creating a space free of smoke exposure and to supporting those trying to quit with appropriate services and resources,” Woolf said. “More broadly, we seek to shift cultural norms around smoking and to encourage the greater population to make healthier choices that benefit everyone.”

To learn more about Queen’s going smoke-free, visit their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here.

To view the full Smoke-Free University Policy, click here.

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