Frequently asked questions

1. Why is the ANU smoke-free?

It is widely acknowledged that smoking is harmful to health and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Smoking adversely impacts individual and community health, the natural environment and the economy (through increased public health costs).

By being smoke-free, the University is:

  • encouraging and supporting healthier lifestyle choices for University staff and students who smoke, by providing a work and study environment which encourages reducing or quitting tobacco and nicotine use;
  • promoting the benefits of quitting and seeking to reduce the number of people taking up smoking or recommencing smoking if they had previously quit (evidence shows that a smoke-free environment supports these goals).
  • preventing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in or at University buildings, properties and workplaces;
  • minimising our environmental impact and protecting our local ecosystems and native wildlife. As one example: reducing or eliminating cigarette butts in Sullivan's Creek and the subsequent negative effects on the Corroboree frog; and
  • ensuring consistency with the other Group of Eight universities who have also been smoke-free for some time.

2. Who does the policy apply to?

Everyone on campus and/or using ANU vehicles. The ANU Smoke-Free policy applies to all students, staff, contractors and visitors.

Smoke free policies and legislation protect our community from the known and potential harms associated with smoking products, including tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes include e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pens, hookah pens, and e-hookahs and they are now regulated under the same conditions as tobacco.

3. Are other Universities in Australia also smoke-free?

Yes. All of the Group of 8 Universities are smoke free, as are many other Australian Universities.

4. What are the benefits of quitting?

Quitting smoking has immediate positive effects on your health, your environment and your finances.

As soon as you stop smoking your body starts to heal and the damage, of even long term smoking, can start to be repaired. Some aspects of health recover within a few hours, some may take a few years but the good news starts the minute you decide to quit.

Smoking is an increasingly expensive activity. Quitting will put hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year back in your hands. What would you do with $3000 at the end of the year? Imagine a beachside holiday or ski trip, a good start on a new car or the beginnings of a deposit for a home.

Litter from smoking has a tremendous impact on the local environment, resulting in physical and chemical contamination of waterways and other natural environments. By reducing the amount of smoking litter and waste, we are helping maintain the health of our natural environments and native wildlife populations.

5. Where can I access help to quit smoking?

The ANU On Campus Health Service or your local doctor can provide advice on medical options to help manage nicotine cravings and smoking cessation (QUIT) Counselling.

Employee Assistance Program for Staff(Staff only content) and Student Counselling Services provide counselling support for people managing change and stressors.

Details of online QUIT programs and other resources are available on the ANU Smoke-Free website under Staff and student support.

6. What if I can't quit smoking?

People who currently smoke and have tried quitting before may feel that quitting doesn't work for them. Most people take several attempts before they quit successfully. We encourage you to keep trying and to learn from your attempts. The benefits of quitting smoking far outweigh the difficulties. If you can’t quit right now, setting a goal and using strategies to reduce your intake will still give benefit to you, the people around you and the environment, and will make a choice to quit in the future that much easier.

If you choose to smoke, you need to go off campus to smoke. Local HR Managers can provide advice to staff, managers and supervisors on arrangements regarding paid and unpaid breaks, in accordance with the ANU Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021 (ANU EA).

The ANU Health Service or your local doctor can provide advice on medical options to help manage nicotine cravings, as well as smoking cessation (QUIT) Counselling.

Employee Assistance Program for Staff and Student Counselling Services provide counselling support for people managing change and stressors.

7. Is environmental tobacco smoke dangerous and what is it?

The exposure of a non-smoker to environmental tobacco smoke can be described as 'passive smoking'. In this case the non-smoker is exposed to, and absorbs the same chemicals that a smoker would be inhaling, increasing the risk of adverse health effects. So yes, it is dangerous and for people with certain medical conditions it can be immediately so.

There are two types of environmental smoke produced from a burning tobacco product (e.g. a cigarette, cigar):

  • smoke that is produced directly from burning tobacco (sidestream smoke); and
  • smoke that is exhaled by a smoker (mainstream smoke – also produced by using vaporisers/”vaping”).

Research has shown that chemicals such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, arsenic and formaldehyde which can be found in tobacco and tobacco smoke, amongst 4,000 other chemicals, are carcinogenic (cancer causing) and toxic.

8. How will the University enforce the ANU Smoke-Free policy? 

In the first instance, people will be encouraged to voluntarily comply with the policy.

In accordance with ANU Code of Conduct, staff, students, contractors and visitors are required to comply with relevant State, Territory and Commonwealth laws as well as ANU policies and procedures which includes the Smoke Free Policy. Any breaches of the law or this policy will be managed in accordance with established procedures for such conduct. This may include disciplinary procedures for staff and students and a cessation of contracts for contractors.

9. Where do I report smoking “hot spots”?

If you notice an area where people are smoking on campus (a smoking "hot spot"), you are encouraged to email details to whs@anu.edu.au.

10. What about the rights of people who smoke?

The University has a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for students, staff, contractors and visitors, which is conducive to positive health and wellbeing. We also have an ethical obligation to support our staff and students in making decisions that will benefit their own health and wellbeing, the health of those around them, as well as the health of our natural environment and our native wildlife.

While respecting an individual's decision to smoke, University Policy prohibits smoking on University property and we actively encourage quitting. This is in order to protect people with medical conditions or sensitivities from exposure, and to provide and promote an environment conducive to good health for all on campus.

The negative health impact of exposure to smoking (including e-cigarettes/vaping) is clear. Research has shown that chemicals such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, arsenic and formaldehyde which can be found in tobacco and tobacco smoke, amongst 4,000 other chemicals, are carcinogenic (cancer causing) and toxic. The exposure of a non-smoker to environmental tobacco smoke is often described as 'passive smoking'. The non-smoker is exposed to, and absorbs, the same chemicals that a smoker would be inhaling, increasing the risk of adverse health effects.

Workers have a duty under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 to follow University policy and directions related to health and safety.

11. What are people's roles and responsibilities?

In all situations, all parties should be considerate and respectful. Officers with responsibilities related to the smoke free policy are to manage issues in accordance with sound management principles of respect, equity and fairness and in consideration of the health and safety of anyone affected. Reporting and responses should be proportionate to the circumstances and any identified risks.

Staff or students who choose to smoke should do so outside the campus boundary and being mindful of time spent away from their work, study or other activities.

Staff or students who are impacted by environmental smoke should provide information to the smoker where they are comfortable doing so, or report any concerns to their supervisor/manager or to their building custodian or to the Work Environment Group.

The roles and responsibilities of HR, Facilities and Services and Security are outlined in the Smoke Free Policy Document. Policy database (Smoke free policy)

Managers should inform contractors of the University's Smoke-Free Policy and take appropriate steps to promote compliance. Online contractor induction training will provide contractors with information on the policy.

Instances of serious or repeated policy breaches by staff, students, contractors or visitors may result in disciplinary action.

12. Where can I go for more information?

The policy is available on the Policy library (Smoke free policy)

Relevant legislation can be found here:

If you would like more information or have a question about the ANU Smoke-Free Policy, please contact Work Environment Group whs@anu.edu.au.

 

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