Deakin orders new butt-out policy

DHURRIES: Geelong's smoking rate is about a third higher than the state average.

DEAKIN University’s Geelong campuses will go smoke-free on Monday.

The smoke-free move will discourage smoking in and around buildings, in outdoor areas and in other spaces such as vehicles located on campus.

People smoking at Deakin may be respectfully asked to discontinue or leave the campus until they have finished smoking, the university said.

“Smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia – with one tobacco-related death occurring about every 28 minutes,” vice-chancellor Professor Jan den Hollander said.

“That is why Deakin University has led this important initiative to protect and enhance the health of students, staff and visitors at our campuses and improve the quality of study and work environments.”

Prof den Hollander said Deakin was committed to introducing a smoke-free environment in a supportive manner to accommodate the potential challenges some smokers may experience.

“A new website will offer staff and students information about the roll-out as well as support services including professional counselling to help them stop smoking,” she said.

The head of Deakin University’s School of Health and Social Development, Professor Catherine Bennett, said recent university surveys highlighted support for the initiative, with more than 90 per cent of respondents believing people had the right to breathe smoke-free air.

“It is evident that smoke-free environments contribute to increased rates of quitting and help reduce the amount of people who take up smoking,” she said.