By Sarah Larke
Humber College has introduced a complete smoking ban across all campuses, barring anybody on school property from lighting up.
“This is something that’s been under consideration for some time, and when all the proposed stuff around cannabis came about that really started highlighting the need for conversation,” said Humber’s director of public safety Rob Kilfoyle. “And then, as Humber began to consider signing on to the Okanagan Charter, that’s when we really got serious about making the decision to go smoke-free.”
Humber College is the first Canadian signatory on the Okanagan Charter, a document that commits the school to creating a healthier campus environment. Kilfoyle was involved with the committee that recommended making Humber smoke-free as part of that promise.
Starting Jan. 1 there will be an absolute ban on all smoking activities on any Humber property. Marijuana, tobacco, and vaping are included in the ban which will affect students, staff, and anyone else on-campus.
Dean of Students Jen McMillen said the goal is to encourage everyone in the Humber community to embrace healthy living habits.
“Smoking impacts not only individuals who do it but also those who share those spaces with them,” she said.
While the ban is set in stone, what is not yet clear is how it will be enforced. Kilfoyle said other schools who have gone smoke-free, such as Sheridan College and McMaster University, have not had issues in terms of people following the rule. Considering those positive responses, he said Humber has not set up a specific discipline system for potential rule-breakers.
“We don’t have any fine system as of yet, that’s not something we’re contemplating,” he said. “What we’re hoping for is for people to voluntarily comply, but if they don’t we have existing measures where they can be asked to leave the property if they’ve refused, and they can be trespassed and have police called. We don’t want to go down that road if we don’t have to.”
Addictions and mental health student Alysha Bernstein said she doesn’t think student smokers will follow the rules of the ban because she doesn’t see much security presence on-campus and students already smoke in prohibited areas.
“I don’t think heavy enforcement is great because we’re adults and most of us should be able to make our own decisions, but not enforcing it means people are going to do what they want,” she said.
While Kilfoyle said he has not heard complaints from students and more information about the ban will come out in the next couple weeks, Bernstein said it is not a good move since she believes people will not obey it.
“It’s legal in our country to smoke marijuana now and it’s always been legal to smoke cigarettes,” she said. “There needs to be somewhere for people who are adults and make their own choices to smoke, to go and smoke.”