• September 5, 2018
AUT's smokefree policy is six years old. Photo: Maxine Jacobs
Students have found their way around AUT’s smokefree policy by smoking in areas on the outskirts of the university, where the boundaries between AUT property and public spaces are unclear.
AUT health, safety and wellbeing specialist Marisa De Graaf said she was frustrated and saddened by the staff and students’ continued smoking habits around the outskirts of the city campus.
“We face challenges on the city campus in relation to enforcing the smokefree ban due to the fact that the campus is in the CBD, and so the line between what is campus and what is an outdoor public area can be difficult to determine.
“It disappoints us to see students smoking in front of AUT smokefree signs, and encourage anyone to approach them and ask them to stop,” she said.
The policy was introduced six years ago to reduce tobacco-related harm to everyone on campus, said Ms De Graaf.
Tins have been located around the city campus by groundsmen in an attempt to reduce the appearance of cigarette butts around the university. Ms De Graaf said AUT reluctantly supplied the tins to keep the areas tidy after years of security and groundsmen attempting to discourage smoking.
Business student Xianna Auger said the tins helped her determine where the smokers' areas were near the campus.
“Where we do smoke works for us. I don’t think there should be a designated area. I think the places we do have are close enough to the vicinity that I’m not complaining about it.”
Fashion student Riley Bowden said AUT was “waging war” against smokers because it jumped on the Smokefree 2025 bandwagon.
“I think discouraging all smoking on campus is pretty stink.
“A percentage of the population does smoke, especially the student population. We’re going to be chain smoking ciggies close to deadline,” she said.
Smita Singh, a social sciences student, said she would like a dedicated smokers’ area, especially given the stress of university and her addiction to nicotine.
“I get stressed out if I don't have a cigarette, which means I can't actually focus in class. Just like a small little area within the buildings would be fine,” she said.
Ms De Graaf said Student Health Services offered smoking-cessation programmes and an occupational health nurse was available for staff.
Smoking was not encouraged among staff or students, “but ultimately it's a personal choice”.