WORDS | Lily Davis
Students may have noticed that it’s now harder to smoke on campus. Changes in April saw the removal of five designated ‘smoke areas’. There are now just four left: E3B, C7A, Y3A and Gymnasium Road.
The recent decision signals the next phase in Macquarie’s plans to be a completely smoke-free university by 2015. However, smoking is divisive issue, a habit that people either cannot live with or cannot live without. Unsurprisingly, responses from students to these changes were equally divisive.
Stephanie, a non-smoker, argued that smoking was, “a really terrible and unhealthy habit… anything that discourages people from smoking on campus is a good idea!” However she raised concerns about the university’s approach, “I am not sure if this will mean that people will stop smoking on campus, or if it just means they will smoke wherever they want.”
Brad agreed, noting that he’d already seen evidence of this on campus, “Just today I saw a lady smoking a cigarette that was in an area with way more traffic than where the original smoking zones were.”
Indeed, whilst changes may discourage some from smoking on campus, the addictive qualities of cigarettes mean that it is unlikely to be fully successful. Less designated areas may mean smokers will choose to risk a fine and smoke wherever they want.
On this point Brad emphasised that “these people [smokers] are already very well aware of the consequences.” He questioned what good would come from further outside intervention.
But there is little doubt that achieving a smoke-free status would promote a healthy atmosphere. Many facilities, venues, businesses and public spaces, whether by choice or by the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW), are now choosing to restrict or ban smoking. It is arguable that university campus should be no different.
As to how successfully this new effort will be adhered to, students will just have to wait and smell.