University Health and Security Committee to review smoking policy

McGill University’s smoking policy will be up for review by the University Health and Security Committee (UHSC), which may include discussion of a smoke-free campus.

The current policy specifies that all smoking must be at least nine metres from any building entrance in order to comply with Bill 112, which was passed in Quebec in 2006. As of last September, the policy also applies to e-cigarettes and has established designated smoking areas on a trial-basis.

According to Music Senator Maximillion Scebba, who sits on the UHSC, the current policy does not include information on methods of enforcement. The UHSC seeks to update the policy but specific changes have not been planned.

“What [the current policy] doesn’t do is talk about how it should be enforced, so that’s an issue we will be addressing,” Scebba said. “There’s no one policy in particular we’re looking at changing. We might be drafting a new policy, or amending the current policy but there’s no particular article on it that we’re looking at specifically.”

The idea of a smoke-free campus will also be discussed, but it is not the focus of the discussion.

“The focus of the discussion is policy update and whether or not [a smoke-free campus] will be implemented is up in the air,” Scebba said. “It is on the table and catalyzing the discussion but it’s not the ‘big-take’ home. It’s good to get people thinking about it and smoking policy as a whole, [but] if they were to ban smoking on campus I don’t think it would work because I don’t think the university would have the resources to enforce it.”

Some students see the idea of a smoke-free campus as a good one, but questioned McGill’s ability to enforce it.

“I think it’s great that they have no smoking zones on campus, but I think [a smoke-free campus] would be hard to enforce,” Sarah MacRae-Korobkov, U0 Arts, said.

Others did not carry strong opinions about the need for policy update.

“I don’t really have an issue with the current policy—I don’t really think about it,” Daniel Guagliardo, U1 Arts, said.

The USHC will meet on Nov. 22 and will be discussing further policy updates.

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