University College Dublin has become the country’s first ever third level institution to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco related products on its campus.
Starting this semester, the sale of these products is now prohibited in the convenience stores and student union outlets on the Belfield campus, with the ban extending to e-cigarettes.
The move comes following a referendum held by the UCD Student Union last September, which resulted in 55 per cent of students voting in favour of the ban.
This new policy is just the first step towards making the campus completely tobacco-free by prohibiting smoking on campus grounds.
The ban has received mixed reactions from UCD’s 30,000 students, as many believe that it is interfering with the students’ freedom of choice, while others fear that it could encourage a black market on campus.
Speaking to The College View a spokesperson for UCD’s Students’ Union said that it is still “difficult to say” how students and staff have reacted to the ban, and that their co-operation with the no-smoking initiative will not be truly tested until smoking on campus is prohibited.
“All shop licenses around campus have been amended so they are not allowed to sell cigarettes or any tobacco related products. This includes the bar,” the spokesperson said.
“It’s part of a plan to not have smoking on campus at all in the near future so that will be the real litmus test of the ban.”
Several other Irish colleges appear to be following UCD’s example, with DIT and Trinity College also planning to phase out smoking.
Trinity College held a referendum on the issue last year, but a slim majority voted against making the city centre campus smoke-free, with 53 per cent voting ‘no’.
DCU student Glen Murphy said that he would not support a ban if it were to be introduced on our campus, as it is “far too controlling”.
“We live in a time when people know the dangers of smoking, so if they wish to continue to smoke, let them at it,” he said. “It’s their choice and shouldn’t be anyone else’s to make for them”.