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McMaster University to be Ontario’s first smoke-free campus

By Dariya Baiguzhiyeva [1]

BELLEVILLE – Hamilton’s McMaster University [2] has recently banned smoking [3]on campus, but where does Loyalist College stand on its smoking policy?

McMaster will be the first university in Ontario [4] to be a 100-per-cent smoke-free campus.

The ban will come into effect on Jan. 1. All types of smoking, including vaping and use of medical marijuana, will be prohibited. Some exceptions can be made upon request for Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices.

Loyalist has a smoke-free zone around the college. For people who wish to smoke, there are four designated smoke shelters on campus.

Smoker Micheal Martin, an electrical technician automotive student, said he likes the smoking policy. He noted, however, that some people smoke in places other than the designated shelters.

“You can see people … abusing the areas, like, ‘I’m nine metres from the door, whatever.’ ”

The policy at least acknowledges that some people need to smoke because it’s an addiction, he said. “It’s a negative thing to encourage (smoking), but at the same time it is not going to make it go away.”

When QNet News used social media to ask McMaster students what they think of their university’s new policy,  sociology and health studies student Brittany Allan was one of those who responded. She called the a ban a “positive movement.”

“I don’t agree with exposure to second-hand smoke,” Allan said. “Walking past people on campus who are smoking, I often get caught (with) their smoke blown in my face.

“As a non-smoker, I hate smelling like smoke.”

But Allan said that smoking medical marijuana shouldn’t be completely banned.

Lucietta Marchese, who studies French at McMaster, said she is happy with the ban.

“Despite there being signs that say you cannot smoke within nine metres of the buildings, people will be smoking right by main entrances, making it nearly impossible to get to class without taking in a lungful of smoke,” Marchese said. “Also, getting stuck behind someone with a cigarette is the worst.”

She doesn’t have a problem with the ban including medical marijuana, she said.

“There is a time and place for (using pot for medical reasons), and school, I find, isn’t one of those. There are more ways to ingest medical marijuana besides smoking a joint.

“Other methods that wouldn’t disturb people around are fine. But smoking it? Not so much, in my opinion at least.”

Both McMaster students said they had not heard about a possible ban before it was announced. They weren’t surveyed or contacted by the university prior to the ban being  approved, and hadn’t seen any posters or signs about it around campus, they said.


Map by Vanessa Stark, QNet News