Another Irish third-level institution has announced a smoke-free campus, with DCU yet to join a number of other Irish colleges who have banned campus smoking.
Several universities including UCD, Trinity, and UL have all begun the process of going tobacco-free, while Westport College, Athlone IT and most recently ITC are completely smoke-free campuses.
DCU VP for Welfare and Equality Podge Henry said he would like to see such policies introduced in DCU: “I would love to see DCU follow the steps of IT Carlow as not only does it clean up the campus, but also reduces the intake of second hand smoke, making it more difficult for some to smoke and could encourage them to quit too.”
Rory Martin, a first year in Common Entry Science and smoker said he does not see a smoking ban working in DCU.
“There’s probably 50 people smoking outside the Nubar on any given Tuesday during Shite Nite, if DCU went smoke-free would every one of these people all have to leave the campus every time they wanted a cigarette?” said Martin.
“It would be a massive inconvenience for the sake of very little positive impact,” he continued.
Most of the smoke-free bans applied to Irish colleges also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vapes.
Henry said while he acknowledges studies have shown that fewer toxins were present when smoking e-cigarettes and they could be helpful for people trying to quit cigarettes, “there are still toxins and it is a health hazard increasing the risks of lung cancer and other illnesses.”
“I would encourage other forms of quitting like hypnosis or contacting a GP who would have other solutions for quitting.”
The HSE said it also has concerns about e-cigarettes and has no plans to review their vaping policies in the near future. However, some argue that e-cigarettes should be prescribed by doctors as a medical means of quitting; a Public Health England (PHE) report published in February found that e-cigarettes could be contributing to over 20,000 successful ‘new quits’ a year.
The HSE said in a statement following the PHE study that “there is a lack of research in relation to the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes and a lack of sufficient evidence that they aid with smoking cessation”.
Image Credit: Alison Clair