by Daniela Ramirez and Kelsey Mohammed
“New Year, New Rules” will be the motto across all Humber campuses as part of their “smoke-free campus” initiative the school plans to implement on Jan. 1, 2019.
The new smoking policy is a result of Bill C-45, marijuana legalization that came into effect Oct. 17 across Canada. An email sent from Dean of Students Jen McMillen to students and faculty outlines Humber’s new smoking ban.
“With the legalization of recreational cannabis in October, growing, baking, smoking or selling cannabis on Humber property is prohibited… We will be going smoke-free on all college property on January 1, 2019.”
Humber offers several designated smoking sections across all their campuses. These sections, located roughly 10 metres from building entrances, are not always the primary stop for cigarette smokers when some students are looking for a quick break in between classes.
“I was substituting it for weed… It’s to calm me down, take a little break,” says Shekeela Martin, a first-year journalism student.
The new policy restricts everybody from smoking on Humber property including students, faculty and any other people working on Humber property.
Azhar Ahmed is a line cook at the Tim Hortons located near the L building on the east side of the Lakeshore campus. Ahmed says his employer already made him sign a waiver that claims he is not able to smoke marijuana while on the job. The only ties this Tim Hortons has to Humber is that it is located on their grounds.
“Cigarettes we are still allowed to smoke and you can take a cigarette break as long as it’s not within 20 meters of the school entrances…it’s a fair and valid request,” says Ahmed.
The students Skedline.com spoke to say they smoke as a coping mechanism for their stress and are looking forward to the smoking ban.
“I need a reason to quit, as soon as finals are done, I’m done smoking so it’ll probably be a little bit easier now,” says Michael Jenkins.
His friend Bradon Noxon, another jounalism student , does not plan on quitting and is willing to adapt to the new changes on campus.
“I don’t mind taking an extra two-minute walk somewhere to smoke if it’s off campus…I mean it’s a little inconvenient at times, like right now it’s raining or when it snows but I’ve been smoking for a few years and it’s a way to cope with stress and was a lifestyle growing up,” says Noxon.
Many students have the same reaction to Noxon and Jenkins and are hoping the “smoke-free” campus initiative will push them into making a positive lifestyle change.
Anxiety, stress, obsessive-compulsory disorder and depression are some issues that smoking cigarettes helps as a way to cope with the illness states the Mental Health Foundation website.
Ekaterina is a second year Bachelor of Behavioural Science student at Humber who believes smoking helps her mental health.
“I have anxiety and it really affects me, that’s why one cigarette can help me to deal with it…I don’t think weed and cigarettes are the same…I’m against weed but it’s not fair to be considered as the same case [for cigarettes and weed],” she says.
Humber plans to become the “healthiest campus in Canada” and the new smoking policy is one step forward in that direction.
Humber offers a variety of services to help students adjust to changes such as this one, including “Smoking Cessation Services” and a Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre where nurses and counsellors are available to help students across all campuses.
More information can be found on the Humber website: http://humber.ca/student-life/swac/health-counselling/walk-services/smoking-cessation-services