As Queen's turns to smoke-free campus, cessation supports scarce

End to Leave the Pack Behind limits help for those trying to quit

Smoking banned on Queen's campus.
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Queen’s campus and properties went completely smoke-free on June 1, joining 82 other Canadian universities with smoke-free campuses. The ban applied to cigarettes, nicotine vaporizers, cigars or any product capable of being smoked.
 
In the policy, the University said it will facilitate the transition to a smoke-free campus with signs reminding community members of the policy, along with cessation resources and supports. 
 
According to a press release about the policy, “the university is offering assistance to both students and employees seeking smoking cessation supports.” 
 
For students, the first cessation resource the University offers is a suggestion to make an appointment at Student Wellness Services where they can seek help from a doctor or health care professional. 
 
The second—and last—resource provided by the University for students who may be seeking cessation support is to sign up for Leave the Pack Behind, a tobacco control program that, due to Ford government cuts, will cease all activity this June. 
 
Despite the program’s impending cancellation, the University still lists Leave The Pack Behind as a support available for students and employees who wish to quit smoking. 
 
For employees, the only other option the University provides for smoking cessation is the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), “which can incorporate smoking cessation as a goal and provides resources and coaching to assist employees in reaching this goal.”
 
On the University’s page providing information about the EFAP, nicotine addiction is not explicitly listed as an available counselling service and it’s advised that, “while the program can be used for crisis intervention, the ideal time to use the program is before problems get out of hand.”
 
Will McLelland, Law ’21, is a recreational smoker who plans to follow the new regulations and no longer smoke 
on campus. 
 
In an interview with The Journal, he said he believes the policy will be effective in reducing the number of smokers on campus, citing the lack of time to leave campus between classes. 
 
However, he rejected the University’s suggestion to turn to non-smoking nicotine alternatives, such as gum or the patch.
 
“They do not provide a good alternative and I think most people feel the same way,” he said. 
 
McLelland suggested a less extreme policy, such as banning smoking only in high traffic areas like public walkways. 
 
There are limited exceptions to the policy, including permitted use of cannabis for medical purposes and the Indigenous use of tobacco, sweet grass, sage, and cedar for the four sacred medicines. 
 
Exceptions will also be made for approved teaching and research. 
 
The ban covers campus and university properties, including West Campus, the Queen’s University Biological Station, and the Queen’s family health team clinic. Smoking in vehicles parked on university property is also prohibited. 
 
The new policy follows the University’s adoption of the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health-Promoting Universities and Colleges last January, which pledges to “create and apply wellness-related policies and programs with demonstrated impact.” 
 
The policy also states non-compliance may make a person subject to actions, discipline or sanctions, ejection or suspension from venues, or termination of the individual’s relationship with the University. 
 
More serious enforcement measures will depend on the individual’s relationship to Queen’s, the nature of the incident, and where it occurs. 
 
Policy compliance will be monitored by Campus Security and Emergency Services.
 
 

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