UCD students vote for smoke-free campus

Result means union will support proposal made by university health committee

UCD students have voted to support a smoke-free campus. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

UCD students have voted to support a smoke-free campus. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

Cigarette breaks by the Belfield lake are one step closer to ending at University College Dublin where students have voted in favour of a smoke-free campus.

The vote result means that the UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) will support a proposal by the university’s health promotion committee to make the campus smoke free.

The result means that UCD’s health committee will now begin consulting with both academic and administrative staff representatives on the proposal, a university spokesman said.

However the result does not necessarily mean that the 320-acre south Dublin campus will become smoke-free .

UCDSU president Mícheál Gallagher said when the proposal was put to the university’s health promotion committee in March last they felt it “would be necessary to have a referendum on this issue to gauge the levels of support for the issue”. Mr Gallagher is a member of the health committee.

“The result today shows students’ engagement with the democratic process. They have endorsed the proposal for a smoke free campus. UCD students have a proud tradition of being on the cutting edge of health promotion initiatives,” Mr Gallagher said .

Students taking part in the referendum voted 55 per cent in favour of a smoke-free campus. Over 2,500 votes were cast in the poll held by UCD Students’ Union out of some 30,000 students.

The voting took place on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week on the following proposal: “This union supports the smoke free campus initiative, as proposed by the UCD Health Promotion Committee.”

Anti-smoking lobby group Ash Ireland has been campaiging to encourage third-level institutions to ban smoking on college campuses across the State. Such on-campus tobacco bans have been introduced at many universities in the United States.

The Health Service Executive has introduced a smoke-free campus policy at many hospitals and has said all HSE campuses will become tobacco-free by 2015.

Last year independent senator John Crown failed in his bid to make Leinster House grounds the first smoke-free parliament in the world.