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Tobacco-free University

The University of Canberra is tobacco-free.

We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of students, staff and visitors. A tobacco-free university creates a healthier environment for the community on campus and will help support tobacco users who want to quit.

Extensive consultation with staff and students was conducted in 2015 to ensure that an updated Tobacco-Free University Policy is current and reflected the community's preference of a tobacco-free environment.

The consultation survey conducted in October 2015 showed that the majority of the 3,515 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would prefer a completely tobacco-free university; 78 per cent of them recognising that tobacco smoke caused them harm.

The survey also revealed that 85 per cent of the respondents did not smoke at all, while five per cent smoked less often than weekly, six per cent smoked weekly and four per cent smoked on a daily basis.

This evidence supported the review of the policy towards a totally tobacco-free university, with the aim of saving lives and improving the health of our community. It also aims to minimize the impact of secondhand tobacco smoke to others on campus.

This means that the sale and the use of tobacco products on or in University controlled premises or grounds will be prohibited. All staff, students and visitors are required to comply with University Policy and refrain from smoking in non-smoking areas.

 Smoking will not be permitted in or on any University-controlled premises or land. University of Canberra tobacco-free zones are defined in this map.

Tobacco-free campus map

A full copy of the Tobacco Free University policy is available. In order to help implement the policy effectively across the University, we will be rolling out information and resources for staff and students.

The policy applies to:

  • All persons whilst on University controlled premises or land.
  • All premises or land owned or controlled by the University.
  • All vendors, contractors and commercial tenants operating in or on University owned or controlled premises.

Legislation and Resources

Everyone in the University community has a role to play in ensuring the success of this initiative. To enforce UC's Tobacco-Free University Policy we all need to respectfully educate the community and provide assistance to those who would like to quit smoking or using tobacco products.

Staff and students share the responsibility of adhering to the policy and enforcing it, bringing it to the attention of visitors and guests.

Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding things a person can do. Many smokers say they would like to quit, and may have tried at least once. Some are successful the first time, but many other people try a number of times before they finally give up for good.

Reasons to Quit

Common reasons people say they quite smoking include the following:

Remember: If you have made the decision to quit, talking to your doctor can improve your chances of quitting.

Health Benefits of not smoking

  • Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
  • Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
  • Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
  • Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
  • Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).
  • Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

Supporting smokers

UC Medical and Counselling offers free health assessments, health coaching sessions and other useful services to staff and students to assist them to quit smoking.

The following are resources that you may also like to use to help you quit.

IPhone and Android apps to assist quit smoking

  • My QuitBuddy
  • Smoke Free
  • Livestrong MyQuit Coach
  • QuitNow!

Where can I smoke?

Smoking will not be permitted in or on any University Controlled Premises or Land.
Note: Previous designated smoking areas have been removed. Use of tobacco is prohibited at the University of Canberra.

What is considered a tobacco product and is therefore prohibited?

Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes, electronic nicotine devices (e-cigarettes and vaporisers*) and the use of any other implements that emit harmful or toxic smoke for the purpose of inhaling. Any substance containing tobacco leaf, including but not limited to, hookah tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, bidis, blunts, clove cigarettes, or any other preparation of tobacco, is prohibited.

* E-cigarettes and vaporisers sales and use within the ACT,  whether or not they contain nicotine are treated like tobacco, with the same restrictions on where and how they can be used and sold.

How will the policy be enforced?

In creating a healthier University environment, UC encourages all staff, students and visitors to be part of a positive culture change and to have respectful conversations to students and staff smoking on campus in reference to the smoke-free policy to improve the overall quality of life for everyone. We believe that implementing this policy is everyone's responsibility. Therefore, staff, students and visitors smoking on campus can expect to be reminded of the tobacco-free initiative by others and requested to either discontinue smoking or to move to a designated smoking area off campus.

How is the tobacco-free university being communicated?

Implementation of UC's tobacco-free university is important and a variety of methods will be used to raise awareness, including:

  • Signage;
  • Tobacco-free printed material such as posters and postcards;
  • Social medial, bulletin items and emails to students and staff;
  • Pre-arrival information to new students and staff, as well as information via orientation and induction programs, and relevant university events.

What should I do if I see someone smoking on campus?

We hope that respect and civility for others will guide all of us during the transition towards a tobacco-free campus. Staff, Students and visitors can play a role in UC's tobacco-free initiative by increasing awareness to those smoking on campus through signage, quit support and resources available, social media and information online.

This can be a difficult conversation to have. If you're unsure how to have the conversation with someone smoking, you can refer to the signs on campus, or use the following tips to guide you:

  • always remember that smoking is an addiction; sometimes smoking is associated to stress or an addiction to nicotine so it's important to be mindful of this when explaining the policy;
  • smile, introduce yourself and politely tell the person that the University has gone tobacco-free;
  • respectfully request the smoker to either put out the cigarette safely or move to a designated smoking area off campus if they wish to keep smoking; and
  • If the person complies, remember to thank them. If the person becomes angry or confrontational, excuse yourself and report the incident to your manager or Security.

Will UC be assisting and supporting staff and students?

The policy aim is to create a healthy and safe environment for all UC staff, students and visitors. We encourage smokers to reduce or quit smoking and will support this process through health and wellbeing campaigns and quit-smoking information.

Have other universities implemented an approach like this?

Many other universities in Australia and internationally have successfully adopted similar tobacco/smoke-free initiatives.


If you need further help or information, please email the Health and Safety Team.