I am pleased to share the news that KPU will go smoke-free on January 21, 2018.
Smoking and vaping will be prohibited on all KPU campuses and properties, including inside private vehicles while those vehicles are parked on KPU property. Similar smoke-free policies are already in place at a number of post-secondary institutions across Canada.
The decision to prohibit smoking and vaping on all KPU campuses was not made lightly. A task force comprising KPU representatives from across the university deliberated for more than two years over the many options and possibilities for regulating these activities on campus. Ultimately, I concluded that a smoke-free policy, complemented by resources and support, best aligns with our efforts to create a working and learning environment that promotes the overall health and wellness of students and staff. This decision was bolstered by similar comments posted to the KPU Policy Blog when we last sought input on this issue.
The new policy will go into effect at the start of National Non-Smoking Week, which is traditionally the time when local, regional, provincial, and federal agencies come together to raise awareness through public education and advocacy of the benefits of quitting smoking.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, tobacco kills 37,000 Canadians every year, making smoking the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada.
Smoking also has environmental consequences and is a major fire risk. Worldwide, some 4.95-trillion butts are tossed onto the ground or into the water every year, depositing toxins into the environment, polluting our waterways, and posing a risk of injury and even death to the birds and marine animals that ingest them.
We recognize that this policy will be inconvenient for some members of our community, who will now be forced to leave campus in order to smoke. If you are among the approximately 18 per cent of Canadians who smoke tobacco either daily or occasionally, I encourage you to explore the smoking cessation resources available to you as an employee or student of KPU. You can also visit the BC Smoking Cessation Program, which helps eligible B.C. residents stop smoking by covering the cost of certain cessation products.
Alan Davis, PhD
President and Vice Chancellor