Why has ACU decided to go smoke-free?

The University values the health and wellbeing of its students, staff and visitors and the Tobacco-Free Policy has been implemented to provide a healthy and safe environment for everyone. As a recognised leader in the provision of major programs in the fields of health and education, this move ensures the university is matching its best practice education with best practice policy.

The University recognises the health risks associated with passive smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as life-threatening diseases linked to the use of all forms of tobacco.

Isn’t ACU already smoke-free? What changed?

Smoking was previously not permitted in any building or vehicle of ACU, with smoking restricted to designated smoking areas in outdoor areas on University grounds. The exception to this was the Ballarat Campus, where smoking was not permitted since 2006 anywhere on the campus, both within the buildings and the grounds.

From 1 July 2014, these smoking restrictions were extended by phasing out designated smoking areas at the Melbourne Campus. Following a review of the experience at the Melbourne and Ballarat campuses, all other campuses became tobacco-free from 1 January 2015, which involved the removal of all designated smoking areas with the exception of the Sydney campuses (temporary designated smoking areas at North Sydney and Strathfield campuses will remain until further notice).

In addition to phasing out designated smoking areas, the policy extends to prohibiting tobacco sales and promotion on campus, as well as zero funding or sponsorship from the tobacco industry.

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Have other universities gone smoke-free?

Yes. The smoke-free initiative undertaken by ACU is being jointly implemented at all other universities in Victoria, with many other Australian universities already smoke-free or taking steps towards becoming smoke-free.

What is considered a tobacco product and is therefore prohibited?

All tobacco, cigarette, cigar, water pipe or any other product containing tobacco designed for human consumption or use is prohibited. This includes consumption by combustion of plant material, herbs, or drugs using any utensil or apparatus including cigarettes, pipes or cigars, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco.

ACU’s decision to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes is based on the position of the Australian Government’s Therapeutics Goods Administration. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-cigs are devices for making mists for inhalation, that usually simulate the act of cigarette smoking. Electronic cigarettes are often marketed as an option to help people quit smoking, or as a tobacco replacement (TGA 2013). Unlike nicotine replacement therapy products, no assessment of electronic cigarettes has been undertaken, and therefore their quality and safety is not known (TGA 2013).

Who does the smoke-free approach affect?

Anyone who studies, works or visits ACU premises, including the general public, volunteers and contractors. This includes people attending conferences, events and functions at ACU premises during the week and weekends.

Where does the smoke-free policy apply?

Neither smoking nor the use of tobacco products are permitted within ACU campus boundaries and controlled properties. This includes all land, buildings, car parks, vehicles, facilities and other property owned or leased by or under the control of the University.

What about ACU residential facilities?

Smoking is prohibited in all internal and external (outdoor) areas within or along ACU Student Residences including all common areas, balconies, internal and external thoroughfares and stairwells. Designated sections of external Common Areas for smoking may be allocated where possible.

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Where can I smoke?

Smoking is not permitted anywhere within or along ACU campus boundaries and controlled properties. There will be no designated smoking areas on ACU campuses with the temporary exception of Sydney campuses. This means that anyone wishing to smoke will be required to leave the campus.

Designated smoking areas will continue to be available at the North Sydney and Strathfield campuses until 1 July 2016, when ACU will review their future. Please refer to the relevant campus maps (North Sydneyand Strathfield) for locations of designated smoking areas at the Sydney campuses.

Once outside the boundaries of university-controlled properties, smoking and use of tobacco products is subject to local laws.

When deciding where to smoke off campus, please be considerate of neighbours and the disposal of butt litter, to reflect ACU’s values of respect to both others and the environment. Also be mindful of your safety when choosing where to smoke off campus, in particular heavy vehicle traffic areas.

What about the rights of smokers?

The policy is about where people can smoke so that their smoke doesn’t cause harm to others. The decision to smoke is a personal one and the University respects your right to smoke, however you will need to do so at another location off campus (with the exception of Sydney campuses where temporary designated smoking areas are provided). ACU values the health and wellbeing of its staff, students and visitors, and it is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for everyone.

How will the policy be enforced?

It is everyone’s responsibility to create and maintain a healthy and safe environment. ACU encourages everyone to be a part of a positive culture change by playing a role in increasing the awareness of our smoke-free environment, through local signage, social media and the internet. Implementing this policy is everyone’s responsibility. Therefore, anyone smoking on campus can expect to be reminded by others of ACU’s smoke-free environment, and it is requested that the tobacco product is put out or the smoker moves off university property until they have finished smoking.
In instances where people persistently breach the policy, they may be subject to disciplinary action through the relevant student and staff codes of conduct.

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

We encourage everyone to be respectful and civil with others as we transition towards a smoke-free environment. Everyone can play a role in ACU’s smoke-free initiative by increasing awareness of smokers on campus by drawing their attention to signage, passing on an ACU smoke-free postcard or referring them to resources or information on-line.

Some tips to guide you:

  • Keep in mind that visitors in particular may not be aware of the new policy and your approach should be to inform rather than confront;
  • Respectfully request the smoker to either put out the cigarette safely or move off campus to finish smoking. In the case of Sydney campuses, advise the smoker to move off campus or to the designated smoking area if they wish to keep smoking;
  • If the person complies, remember to thank them. If the person becomes angry or confrontational, excuse yourself and report the incident to your manager or Security.

How is the smoke-free environment being communicated?

Implementation of ACU’s smoke-free environment is important and a variety of methods will be used to raise awareness, including:

  • Signage;
  • Smoke-free printed material such as postcards and posters;
  • Social media, news items and emails to students and staff;
  • Pre-arrival information to new students and staff, as well as information via orientation programs and induction programs, and relevant university events;
  • Health and wellbeing campaigns for students and staff.

What support will be provided to students and staff wishing to manage or quit smoking?

The University recognises that some staff and students may require assistance to manage or quit smoking. ACU will support the process of transitioning to a smoke-free environment via a range of health and wellbeing campaigns, providing access to support resources, and connecting people to information resources.

  • ACU will offer QUIT resources intermittently throughout the year in association with other campus events.
  • Students can seek support from the ACU Student Counselling Service
  • Staff can access the Employee Assistance Program
  • Staff and students can seek professional assistance via Quit or calling the Quitline (a telephone advisory service available by calling 137 848), or by visiting websites such as iCanQuit.
  • Staff can obtain online resources from the Real Time Health website via the Human Resources website.
  • Contact your local doctor or medical centre if you are considering quitting.

Where can I ask further questions?

If you have any questions, you can email smoke.free@acu.edu.au

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