Health and Wellness

Questions about a Smoke-free Western

Why is Western going smoke-free?

Western's goal is to provide a healthy, clean campus environment for those who study, live, work and visit here.

How was this decision made?

Western's decision to go smoke-free was made after extension consultation with individuals and groups across our university and beyond.

The consultation with student leaders and employee groups began in 2015.

Consultation will continue. A campus town-hall meeting will be scheduled before spring 2018. Feedback and questions are welcome at

Who was on the Advisory Committee making this recommendation?

The Advisory Committee is led by two Co-Chairs:

What changed in 2018?

In the past, smoking was prohibited within 10 metres from any doorway, window, air intake or loading dock, as well as in any Clear Air Corridor.  Today, smokers are asked to keep at least 10 meters from any Western building.  Smoking is also prohibited in any Clear Air Corridor.  As of July 1, 2018, smoking will only be allowed in designated smoking areas.  View a map showing the location of designated smoking areas.

What happens to people who smoke in areas where smoking is not allowed?

Enforcement protocols are being developed and will be included in the new policy effective July 1, 2018. Most importantly, we hope that, in our culture of respect, those who are smoking will keep 10 meters from all buildings and away from Clear Air Corridors. When they do not, other community members may respectfully remind them. We believe that, over time, smokers will become more conscious of how their smoking affects others, and that non-smokers will become more comfortable in (respectfully) letting smokers know when smoke is a problem.  We regularly get emails from individuals who are affected by second hand smoke on campus, and many have not felt comfortable speaking up in the past.

What should I say to people who are smoking where they should not?

The key is respect, as some people may not know the policy, or know where they can and cannot smoke. Try this approach:

“Hi – I’m ______, and I am a student here at Western (or I work here).  I am wondering if you know that smoking is not permitted within ten metres of any building, or in any Clear Air Corridor?  If you don’t mind moving away I would appreciate that.  I really find the smoke bothers me as I go by. Thank you!”

What about e-cigarettes/vaping?

In July 2016, Western amended its smoking policy to include e-cigarettes.  This means those who vape are required to follow the same restrictions as regular smokers.

Are you trying to make people quit smoking?

People need to make their own choices about whether they wish to smoke.  We do know that half of all smokers who responded to our survey in 2016 said they wish to quit within the next year.  Western provides supports for those who do wish to quit.  

What’s the big deal?  Most people don’t mind a little smoke.

For many people on our campus, it is a very big deal. Some individuals in our Western community have had their health compromised as a result of second-hand smoke on campus. Many have lost loved ones to smoke-related illnesses.  Some people tell us they choose their routes on campus to avoid smokers. We can’t fix of that at once, but we are working to ‘Clear the Air’ – both moving to a smoke-free environment by the summer of 2019.

I am a smoker, but I am thinking about quitting.

Great! We hope you will feel better, enjoy better health, and save money. You will also be taking a big step toward helping us to clear the air on campus.  The Smoker's Helpline provides good information for those thinking about quitting.  We also have a Western web page with information about quitting so you can find out how to take that next step.