Trinity launches tobacco free campus

Campus to be tobacco free aside from three designated smoking areas

Trinity has officially become a tobacco free campus from today onwards, with the exception of three designated smoking areas.

The move sees the expansion of existing tobacco free zones to the entire campus, with the exception of the Kinsella Hall plinth, the area along the cricket pitch, and outside the launderette near the Dining Hall.

Last September, 70.6% of students voted in favour of a tobacco-free Trinity.

Since 2016, people on campus have been obliged to refrain from smoking in zones around Fellow’s Square, the Health Centre, and the Sports Centre. Since the introduction of these no-smoking areas, a 2017 report by the College Health Service has noted an 83% reduction in frequency of observed smoking in these zones.

The University of Limerick (UL) became entirely smoke and vape free last year, while the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and University College Dublin (UCD) have implemented tobacco free zones since January 2016 and September 2015 respectively. The Athlone Institute of Technology was Ireland’s first higher education institution to place a complete ban on tobacco products and e-cigarettes on its campus, having introduced the ban in 2015.

Trinity’s College Health Service has attempted to reduce on-campus smoking over the last five years, with an online survey conducted in 2013 discovering that 54.1% of the Trinity community supported the elimination of smoking on campus. Support for the ban was higher amongst postgraduate students and staff than undergraduate students.

In 2014, students initially voted against making Trinity tobacco-free, which saw the Health Service proposing to introduce smoking shelters prior to going tobacco free or going tobacco free with shelter zones as a compromise. However, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) rejected the proposals.

The SU and the Health Service reached an agreement the following year to create tobacco free zones which would be specifically and individually approved by the TCDSU Welfare officer and TCDSU president. This was approved by the College Board and has been implemented over the past two years.

Aside from the health advantages of smoking reduction, the environmental benefits of the policy have also been outlined, with the reduction of smoking expected to correlate to less litter and plastic waste from cigarette butts.

Following the recommendations of the 2013 Health Service report regarding on-campus smoking and a 2017 study by Trinity academics which called for better targeting of smoking prevention measures, the college offers additional supports to students who hope to reduce their smoking, including free, four-week long Stop Smoking Courses.

Chair of the Tobacco Policy Committee and Director of the College Health Service Dr. David McGrath announced a series of “come and try” sessions which are to be held by societies during Health Week as ten-minute alternative activities to smoking during study breaks.