Press Release – University of Otago
Friday 31 May 2013
Otago University’s smoke-free policy launched
The University of Otago will become fully smoke-free from 1 January, 2014. The University’s revised smoke-free policy, launched officially today, applies to all campuses and recognises strong support from staff and students for a smoke-free setting.
Announcing the move, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the University’s smoke-free policy will enhance the outstanding environment offered to staff and students who work and study at Otago.
The University’s Smoke-free Campus Implementation group expects many benefits to follow the new policy’s introduction. International evidence suggests litter problems reduce, disputes due to second-hand smoke exposure decline, and staff and students enjoy better health.
Professor Norman Sharpe, Medical Director of the Heart Foundation, applauded the University’s decision. “Creating smoke-free environments brings many health benefits and gives tangible support to the more than eighty percent of smokers who regret having started smoking, and who wish to quit.”
Staff and students who smoke may access support via on-campus Quit advisors, as well as existing health and safety services. The University is supporting domestic staff and students who smoke and who wish to become smoke-free by subsidising the dispensing fee charged when smokers redeem Quit cards for nicotine replacement treatments.
Professor Hayne says Otago is unique among New Zealand universities in the support it is offering to assist staff and students who smoke and who wish to quit.
“We know many smokers find quitting a challenge and we want to offer the best support we can to those who want to become smoke-free,” Professor Hayne says.
Dr Jan Pearson, Health Promotion Manager at the Cancer Society, commended the approach taken. “It is very encouraging to see the support that is being provided to smokers; the University of Otago has set a new benchmark that we hope other large employers will follow.”
Details on accessing support can be obtained through the University’s Smoke-free website: http://www.otago.ac.nz/smokefree