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Many students unhappy with Loyalist’s Jan. 1 smoking ban

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Loyalist College is implementing a smoke-free policy that will begin on Jan. 1. Photo by Samantha Rice, QNet News

By Samantha Rice [1]

BELLEVILLE – Students at ­Loyalist College [2] say they’re not happy that the campus will be smoke-free starting Jan 1.

Out of 25 students QNet News interviewed following Monday’s announcement of the smoking ban, only two said a smoke-free campus is a good idea. The rest said a ban on smoking tobacco and cannabis is unnecessary.

The college’s press release Monday announcing that the ban would be moved up from the planned May start date to Jan. 1 cites the fact that marijuana became legal in Canada this week as the reason for the change.

The legalization legislation – Bill 36, or the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act [3] – allows cannabis to be smoked wherever you can smoke tobacco. There are several designated tobacco-smoking areas on the Loyalist campus now, but those will disappear as of Jan. 1.

As for cannabis, it was already banned on campus and “will continue to be strictly prohibited on college property,” the press release said.

As of Jan. 1, the campus will be a completely smoke-free environment. Vaping will be banned along with smoking.

The vast majority of the students QNet talked to this week say they think the ban is unfair.

Film and Television Production student Amanda Watt said the administration could be more flexible.

“They could limit smoking zones,” she said. “They could even make a law against actually doing drugs on campus. But they don’t need to make the whole campus smoke-free. I feel like that wasn’t needed.”

Community and Justice Services student Erin Hardy said that because cannabis smoking was already banned on campus, and remains so even with pot now being legal, she doesn’t think a smoking ban was needed.

“I feel like people should respect the laws and not smoke cannabis where they’re not supposed to,” Hardy said.

Some students said the ban could be dangerous.

“The nearest place to smoke would be across (Wallbridge-Loyalist Road), and if you’ve seen the cars go by, they don’t exactly follow the speed limit,” Tyler Campbell, a third-year Film and Television Production student, said.

Campbell also said he thinks the policy is a complete overstep.

There’s no question that some people are addicted to cigarettes, and putting them through withdrawal could affect their physical and mental health, he said.

Loyalist isn’t the only college implementing a smoke-free campus.

According to a National Status Report done by the Canadian Cancer Society [4], there are at least 65 colleges and universities across Canada that have a smoke-free environment.

McMaster University [5], Western University [6], George Brown College [7] and Redeemer University College [8] were the only schools in Ontario to take on the policy as of this past September.

QNet News requested an interview with Loyalist’s administration about the announcement, but was told no one was available before the publication deadline.