Frequently asked questions
Q: Why is the University going smoke-free?
A: As an institute of higher learning, the University wants to encourage healthier lifestyle choices for staff, students and the community who visit our campuses. This policy change is a state-wide commitment between all Victorian Universities participating in the University Tobacco-Free Policy Working Group.
The introduction of a smoke-free policy follows feedback from members of the University community and consultation with a range of stakeholders. We have received numerous complaints from staff, students and visitors concerned about unavoidable exposure to second-hand smoke while on our campuses. Often smokers are unaware their cigarette smoke streams into nearby windows, entrances and ventilation systems. There is irrefutable medical evidence which proves that second-hand smoke causes serious diseases and harm to others. In addition, smoking poses both a fire hazard and environmental risk to our beautiful campus flora and fauna.
Q: When will the University become smoke-free?
A: All University campuses will be smoke-free from 31 May 2014, except for designated smoking areas.
Q: Who is affected by the smoke-free initiative?
A: All students, staff and visitors at all La Trobe University campuses.
Q: Where does the smoke-free initiative apply?
A: The smoke-free initiative will apply to ALL University campuses and facilities. Car parks are excluded from the initiative under the University's smoke-free policy.
Q: Where can I smoke?
A: Smoking is not permitted on all campuses with the exception of city campuses and Mildura. The car parks are the last place you may smoke before entering campus.
Q: Can I still smoke around University residential facilities?
A: Smoking is permitted within the designated smoking areas outside of the residences. There is no smoking within residential facilities.
Q: Will the use of e-cigarettes be permitted?
A: No. The Department of Health's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) does not consider e-cigarettes to be a safe nicotine delivery system or smoking cessation strategy. Therefore their use is prohibited on university property for the purposes of this policy. In addition, their use in places where smoking is prohibited creates concern and confusion leading to difficulties in enforcing the tobacco-free policy.
Q: Is second hand smoke really harmful?
A: There is conclusive medical evidence that second hand smoke causes serious diseases and harm to others, including non-smokers. The Department of Health (Victoria) states that exposure to second hand smoke has been found to increase the risk of heart disease by 50 to 60 percent and can also increase the risk of nose and sinus cancer. In addition, second hand smoke puts individuals with cystic fibrosis at risk for severe lung infections.
Q: What happens if I smoke on the campus?
A: An enforcing officer may issue staff, students or visitors who smoke on campus a penalty notice under section 15A of the Universities Grounds Statute, 2009. Fines will apply from 24th July, 2017.
Q: What happens if I refuse to stop smoking, even if asked?
A: An enforcing officer may issue staff, students or visitors who smoke on campus an penalty notice under section 15A of the Universities Grounds Statute, 2009. Fines will apply from 24th July, 2017.
Q: Who will be policing this initiative?
A: Everyone. It is the right and responsibility of the University community to maintain and healthy and safe environment. If you are uncomfortable with this report the trouble area to Security.
Q: How can students and staff help with the enforcement?
A: All students, staff, and faculty have a collective responsibility to promote the safety and health of the campus community and environment.. Therefore we all share the responsibility of enforcement. We are offering a "polite and cooperative" campaign. We need everyone's cooperation to make the policy work across our campus. We are optimistic that students, staff, and faculty will all champion the message behind the policy and do their parts by promoting good will as they ask individuals to nicely move off campus.
Smoke free reminder cards are available to anyone that would like them by emailing Smoke Free. These informative cards serve as a friendly reminder for people smoking in a prohibited area. We encourage everyone to obtain cards to hand them out as you move about the campus on your daily journey.
Suggested scripts as a helpful guide to promote the policy
Example Script #1:
Situation: You see a person smoking on campus (not in a designated smoking area)
Response: "Hello. Are you aware that smoking is not permitted in this area and I would greatly appreciate it if you would extinguish your cigarette and/or move to a designated smoking area. Thank you for your cooperation."
Example Script #2:
Question: "Where am I allowed to smoke?"
Response: "Smoking is permitted in the car parks by the ash trays provided"
Example Script #3:
Situation: For registration, admission, and front-line office staff who are speaking to students and families.
Response: "Our campus is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is prohibited on campus. We would appreciate if you would not smoke while on campus. Thank you for your cooperation."
Q: Will staff who smoke be given time for smoke breaks?
A: Staff are entitled to morning and afternoon tea breaks (10 minutes each) as outlined in the Collective Agreement (46.2). La Trobe staff may use these breaks to travel to a transitional designated smoking area to smoke. However, employees will not be given additional break time for smoking.
Q: What about the rights of smokers?
A: The smoke-free policy is about where people can smoke so that their smoke doesn't cause harm to others. Non-smokers have a right to breathe clean air that is not contaminated by carcinogens and other harmful substances in tobacco smoke.
Q: Will tobacco products continue to be sold on University campuses or facilities?
A: The sale of tobacco products will eventually cease on all University campuses through vendor leases.
Q: What support will be provided to staff that wish to stop smoking?
A: As part of the smoke-free initiative, we are offering QuitVic information sessions to our staff and students to get help quitting.