Designated smoking areas disappear
What happened to the smoke pit between T and O Wing?
Six years ago, the Province of Alberta introduced the Tobacco Reduction Act, which limited the ability to display tobacco products, establishing a five-metre distance from windows and doorways.
Five designated smoking areas were created on campus, put in place through the Students’ Association, to comply with the new bylaws.
One of these smoke pits was located between the T and O wing. This smoke pit was created in a place that was accessible to students and close to two doors. However, many non-smokers had to walk past the pit to get to their classes.
Duane Schaffer, Coordinator of Occupational Health and Safety, recalls the difficulty in finding the appropriate balance with smoker and non-smoker accommodation.
“Where can we have these (smoking pits) for the students that are accessible, but are also out of the way?” he asks, adding that they didn’t want to isolate smokers or inconvenience them. According to Schaffer, they’re looking for that balance while also keeping the rest of the student population away from second-hand smoke, especially those under the age of 18.
The smoking pit between T wing and O wing had to be shut down. Schaffer recalls students receiving second hand exposure while walking through the vicinity.
“As per the city of Calgary Bylaws it was too close to people.”
He later added that Mount Royals campus also has minors that frequently visit, whether it be for child care, music classes or sports.
“…which means no, you cannot have an area exposing people, it had to be closed down.”
Ryan Kendall-Bancroft, third-year history student, believes that having these smoking areas allows himself and other smokers to have an area to socialize and “help keep the campus clean.”
In his opinion there are not enough heaters in the area. This poses issues for students that need a puff but can’t stay warm during the winter.
“And there’s no smoke pit around EB,” Bancroft says, “Students have to walk across campus just to get a smoke. Most students end up just sneaking it.”
Security Services at Mount Royal currently offer a verbal warning for students caught smoking outside designated areas. If a second offense is committed, students will have to reconcile with the Office of Student Conduct where further disciplinary action will take place.
No changes are to be set, although there is an increasing pressure to be a smoke-free campus. According to the Wellness Centre, a few years ago funding had been cut to a program to help students quit smoking. There hasn’t been a new implementation of the program, however, students are encouraged to quit smoking and seek counseling if necessary.