The University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John campuses will soon be smoke-free, as the university moves to bring in a complete smoking ban starting Sept. 1.
The ban would prohibit people from any form of smoking, including cigarettes, cannabis, vape and hookah on campus.
“Our focus has been on the health and safety of our campuses and communities, and the decision was made that … smoking, vaping and other forms of tobacco use isn’t really supporting our commitment,” Laurelle LeVert, the associate vice-president of UNB’s Saint John campus, told CBC Radio’s Information Morning in the Summer.
LeVert said discussions around banning smoking on campus began in 2017.
She said a committee did research on campus, which included surveys and consultations.
“Really, it was the entire university’s decision,” said LeVert.
LeVert said the university doesn’t have or maintain statistics on the use of smoking products, “but, we know that other organizations and institutions have been going smoke-free and we have put the time and effort into determining if this was the right choice for UNB as well.”
LeVert said the university did look into having designated spaces on campus for students to smoke, but didn’t end up going that route.
She said there will be accommodations made for students who use cannabis for medical reasons.
“We always work with our community around issues of accommodation,” said LeVert, “medical marijuana has always been something that was explored through our student health centres, our accessibility office and our human resources.”
She said paperwork will be required for the approval process of medical cannabis use on campus.
Enforcement on campus
LeVert said the university will use awareness and education to enforce the ban, and UNB will post signs around the Fredericton and Saint John campuses.
As of right now, the university won’t fine students caught smoking on campus.
“We’re really confident the entire community will come onboard with this,” she said.
LeVert said the university has received concern from students and faculty about the move.
STU not following suit
St. Thomas University spokesperson Jeffrey Carleton said the school, which is adjacent to UNB, will not ban smoking on campus for now.
He said the university has had a smoking restriction policy in place since 2001, which prohibits smoking in all buildings and student residences, but allows smoking in some designated outdoor spaces.
“There have been almost no complaints about this policy in recent years … it hasn’t been a significant issue on campus,” Carleton said in an email to CBC News.
He said St. Thomas University will maintain its current policy for now and re-evaluate after September.
Mount Allison University already has a smoking ban in place, which prohibits students and faculty from smoking in any campus building or within 10 meters of any building.