The smoking ban movement has been gaining more and more attention following McMaster University’s September announcement of their ban in September, which will be effective starting January 1, 2018. It was recently reported that the University of Toronto is considering banning smoking on its campuses, which will affecting all students, both smokers and non-smokers.

Smoking is quite common across the St. George campus. Despite Toronto’s Smoking Bylaw — “No person shall smoke within a nine metre radius surrounding any entrance or exit of a public building.” (City of Toronto Municipal Code 709-3.A.) — there are still many smokers present in front of University building doors.

Smoking comes with many risks; from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, to lung cancer.  With every advancement in medical research, problems related to smoking gain increased awareness and smokers are encouraged to quit as early as possible. Smoking affects smokers directly and non-smokers indirectly, through second-hand smoke inhalation.

Illustration courtesy of Bella Rogal

Who will the smoking ban affect if the University decides to pass the ban?  Most of its impact will be felt by smokers themselves as nicotine is highly addictive, meaning smokers often try and fail to quit.  It will be difficult for smokers to adapt to the ban in a short time. If enforced, smokers will have to travel off campus to smoke, or look for replacements to the activity. The ban may, however, be considered as motivation to either avoid or quit the smoking altogether.

The smoking ban can also be beneficial to non-smoking students. Most non-smokers dislike the smell of tobacco, but the main complaint is that they are exposed to second-hand smoke without much of a choice in the matter.  With the inhalation of second-hand smoke, the damage done to the non-smoker’s body is just as bad as the damage done to the smoker’s.

It is uncertain whether or not the ban will pass, as the University’s campus covers a vast area and it may be difficult to enforce immediately. With the ban’s arrival, the smoking areas on campus could potentially be used for other purposes. Due to the public’s growing focus on personal health, the prospect of a University of Toronto smoking ban is strong.


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