The University Affairs Board (UAB) voted to pass the smoking ban at its November 19 meeting, moving the policy one step closer to full approval at the next Governing Council meeting on December 13. Cigarettes, cannabis, and vaping will all be covered in this ban, but certain smoking areas will be designated in the interim.
One area of concern that many attendees raised during the meeting was how the ban would be enforced. Vice-President Human Resources & Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat said that the ban would be primarily an educative policy, not a disciplinary one.
A primary focus of the policy is to address the issue of secondhand smoke, and the effects it can have on students, even ones who don’t smoke.
University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Vice-President University Affairs Josh Grondin agreed that the policy was a step in the right direction, but urged the UAB to take more time to review this policy.
Last week, Grondin created an online forum where students can give feedback on the smoking ban. One major concern that students had, according to Grondin, was its effect on marginalized students.
Many people were concerned that Campus Police would target students by their ethnicity. Grondin also pointed out that many students smoke cigarettes or cannabis as a stress reliever, and vaping should not be dismissed as an alternative to cigarettes.
Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students (APUS) Vice-President Internal Susan Froom also had many concerns about the policy.
She pointed out that the UTSU, APUS, and possibly many workers’ unions had not been consulted about the policy, and recommended that Governing Council take more time to review areas in which the policy could be improved.
She also pointed out that the designated smoking areas at UTM and UTSC were few and far between, and that students and workers may have to walk up to a kilometre just to smoke. These concerns were also raised at the UTM and UTSC Campus Council meetings.
The next stage of approval will be at the Business Board meeting on November 26.