University of Regina bans smoking of all kinds on entire property

Stratford passes bylaw banning smoking on town property

The University of Regina is going 100 per cent smoke-free on Aug. 1.

Under its new policy, smoking — whether tobacco or cannabis — won't be allowed in university buildings, on the school property, or in vehicles parked on that property. The ban applies to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and pipes.

The new rules do not apply to properties adjacent to the campus, including the First Nations University of Canada and Innovation Place. 

The previous policy was updated in September 2017 and reduced the number of areas where smoking was allowed on campus from 19 to three locations. Vice-president of administration Dave Button said the next step plays off the success of that move.

"We believe the decision to go smoke-free is the right thing to do due to the well-known health risks associated with smoking and second-hand smoke, and to discourage tobacco use among young people," said Button.

"The university has also been considering the implications of the pending legalization of the recreational use of cannabis, which is expected this fall, and implementing a smoke-free policy now addresses many of the concerns associated with that federal initiative."

The advertising or selling of tobacco products won't be allowed on on  University of Regina campuses either.

The policy does make an exception for tobacco being burned on campus for smudging or pipe ceremonies.

Donna Pasiechnik, manager of tobacco control with the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan, said she was excited to hear the U of R was making the change.

She said being 100 per cent smoke-free is a trend at campuses across Canada, making U of R the 26th post-secondary institution to implement such a policy.

"We have been concerned for a very long time about the high smoking rates among teenagers and young adults in Saskatchewan, so this will certainly motivate some of them to cut back and/or quit and protect others from second-hand smoke," Pasiechnik told CBC.

Residents can't grow pot

According to the new policy, growing cannabis will also not be allowed in any of the university residences. 

"We know that a lot of kids who smoke also use cannabis so it's really in order to enforce a smoke-free policy, you have to include any product that is burned — whether it's water pipes or tobacco or cannabis, it has to be all-encompassing," Pasiechnik said.

"That's what the U of R has done, that's what we recommended they do and that, we believe, will make a difference."

The use of medicinal cannabis is not covered by the policy and may be allowed under Saskatchewan human rights legislation.

At the University of Saskatchewan, smoking is prohibited in all university buildings and outdoor seating areas, but it's allowed outside the 10-metre perimeter around them.

Pasiechnik said the U of S is working on a similar non-smoking policy.

The only post-secondary campus in Saskatchewan that is already 100 per cent smoke-free is Carlton Trail Regional College.