Smoking ban policy sought for Memorial

Danette Dooley
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Students’ union seeking feedback via survey

Jessica McCormick, a Memorial University student and director of external affairs with the MUN Students' Union, said the union will take a stance on the smoking issue after it receives further feedback from students.

The head of Memorial University’s discipline of oncology is calling on the university’s new president to ban smoking on university campuses.

In a letter to president Gary Kachanoski dated Sept. 1, Dr. David Saltman suggests Memorial follow examples set by the province’s health authorities and the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) who have banned smoking on all its properties.

As well, Saltman said, more than 400 universities and colleges in North America, including four in Atlantic Canada have also gone smoke-free.

“Memorial University’s current policy of asking students and staff to run the gauntlet of smokers while entering and exiting some building entrances ignores the large body of research that demonstrates the many health hazards of second-hand smoke,” Saltman said in an editorial published recently in Memorial’s student newspaper The Muse.

By not imposing a smoking ban, he said, Memorial is exposing thousands of students and staff to the harmful effects of a known carcinogen and increasing their risk of disability and premature death.

“I don’t think people really realize that there’s a lot of evidence about how dangerous second-hand smoke is and that there’s really no safe level,” Saltman said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Saltman said research recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has shown that policies taken to reduce second-hand smoke exposure in public places in the Toronto area may be responsible for the decreased number of people coming to hospital with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

A study recently published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health conducted by Peter Wang of Memorial’s faculty of medicine finds there’s a higher risk of colorectal cancer among former and current smokers than non-smokers.

Wang’s research states this province has the highest incidence of colorectal cancer in Canada and globally, it is the third leading cause of death from cancer in males and the fourth leading cause of death from cancer in females.

“I don’t think people really realize that there’s a lot of evidence about how dangerous second-hand smoke is and that there’s really no safe level.” Dr. David Saltman

During the interview, Saltman referred to signage outside the doors of the University Centre. One sign says ‘No Smoking.’ A sign less than 10 feet away indicates the area is a designated smoking area.

“That’s completely illogical. Not only is second-hand smoke very high in that entrance, but each time you open the door it goes into the main building.”

Saltman is pleased that Kachanoski has acknowledged his letter and is in favour of reducing second-hand smoke exposure at Memorial.

Former acting president Eddy Campbell was also interested in such an initiative, Saltman said.

Kachanoski suggested the physician begin discussions with Sheila Miller, director of the university’s department of health and safety.

The meeting has been set for Oct. 28, Saltman said.

Saltman is hoping a smoking ban will be in place by September 2011.

Jessica McCormick, a Memorial University student and director of external affairs with MUN Students’ Union (MUNSU) said the union has been following the issue closely and has recently distributed a survey to students about several topics including smoking on campus.

Once feedback is received, McCormick said, the union will be in a position to take a stand on the issue.

“It will be based on what the majority of students on campus believe,” she said.

Kevin Coady, executive director of the Alliance for the Control of Tobacco said his group has been working with Memorial University for a number of years, without success, on a smoking ban.

He’s delighted Saltman has taken up the cause, as well.

“We are supportive with any move that reduces outdoor smoking on campus or at least gets it away from the door ...  or, if possible, a complete smoke-free campus,” Coady said.

 

telegram@thetelegram.com

danette@nl.rogers.com

Organizations: CNA, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Canadian Journal of Public Health University Centre Alliance for the Control of Tobacco

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, North America, Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Calvin
    October 18, 2010 - 12:09

    Yeah, banning smoking may be a little harder to enforce than simple designated smoking areas. I am what I like to refer to as a "social smoker", but banning it everywhere will never work. I do have to comment on all of the conspiracy theorists who come out in droves claiming the government is trying to control us all by banning smoking in public places. And comparing smoking bans to Hitler? Give me a break. Smoking causes cancer, among other things, simple as that. People who dont want to be subjected to second hand smoke in the workplace, or at a bar for that matter, shouldnt be forced to. Smokers choose to smoke, so if we dont want to go out in the cold or rain to have a smoke, dont go out for a smoke. Quit your whining, this is going to be the norm in the ever expanding healthy society we live in.

  • Cyzane
    October 18, 2010 - 00:09

    And these universities are forming those who will one day run society? God help us all. Second hand smoke is not a siginificant health risk even indoors, let alone outdoors. http://www.fightingback.homestead.com

  • FXR
    October 17, 2010 - 03:12

    "Second hand smoke" is the most illogical unintelligent propaganda claim ever to find its way into the realm of scant possibilities. Have any of you the ability to reason and think for yourselves or does a government strategist have to do all your thinking for you? "Smokers have no right to impose their smoke on those who choose to not ingest deadly tobacco smoke."??? The problem here is a widespread misunderstanding of the basics of your rights. Our rights are not power we should ever compare in arguments with each other. Rights are our power over government intrusion, into affairs where they have no legal authority to go. No legal right that is, until the day we give them that right. You see, when successful divisive lobby agendas such as this one and the growing fat pandemic scam work, as designed and divide us to a degree that we can't solve these issues on our own, as we have done in respect to smoking for many years. The government claims a right to act in a paternalist duty, to solve the issue even to a point that no real issue ever existed without their helping hands. Your taxes are being used to promote an agenda inspiring nothing more important than hatred, not unlike the same one used by Hitler in a reductionist eugenicist role, first giving rights to children and animals, with the former to be protected against; their assumed dangerous parents by wide brush, and later in a view that no adult could be assumed more relevant than a protected child and the state assumes the role of parentage over children at all ages. If you believe your body is so delicate that a little tobacco smoke is of more of a concern, that your rights and freedom, your body must be in pretty bad shape to begin with, and you should be getting your affairs in order, because I suspect you won't be with us for long. If you also agree that the Government and it's paid lobbies, make better parents than you or anyone else and also agree that you do not have the maturity to protect yourself against an unpleasant odor? Well your speak for yourself, where most would simply walk away. There is no good reason people can not work out these issues, outside of paternalist government actions which mean nothing in the realm of health issues, and everything in the realm of moralist issues. They separate church and state for good reason, because given license Governments always digress to cult propagandist activities, Kool Aid and all. Can you hear the jack Boots. Keep whining on command and the noise will attenuate in lock step. This was always about selling hatred to the majority by advertising agency sloganeering "No safe level" is a phrase which affords absolutely no information; funny how it afforded so much to so many. Your being had, by manipulators who believe you will fall for anything, open your eyes and follow the money. The truth of all of this comes into focus immediately. Vote them all out or live under fascist tyranny. Choice is a legitimate right we are loosing an ad campaign at a time.

  • Magnetic
    October 16, 2010 - 18:58

    Be aware that smoker denormalization/persecution, and indoor/outdoor smoking bans were planned in the 1970s (see The Godber Blueprint http://www.rampant-antismoking.com ) under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). Much “evidence” over the last three decades has been concocted to fit the agenda. At this time, most countries have signed onto the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control not knowing (maybe they do?) that the WHO (a globalist entity) couldn’t care less about local issues or national sovereignty. It couldn’t care less if smokers were reduced to criminals. The WHO’s only interest is in advancing the eugenics agenda of the “smokefree world”. Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid history. It is typically exterminatory. The fanatical mentality does not entertain accommodation or compromise. Its only intent is the eradication of tobacco use. As such it is dictatorial/tyrannical in disposition. In promoting its fanatical, extreme view, antismoking typically degenerates – quickly – into a plethora of inflammatory lies that drive irrational belief, fear and hatred – particularly amongst nonsmokers: The inflammatory lies produce a bigotry “bandwagon effect” that wreaks social havoc. Following is a link considering the antismoking crusade (also eugenics-driven) of early-1900s USA. This crusade pre-dates even the pretense of a scientific basis or the idea of secondhand smoke “danger”. It was based on a multitude of inflammatory lies that made criminals of ordinary people. http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1981/2/1981_2_94_print.shtml Antismoking reared its ugly head again in the Nazi regime. Nazism was also eugenics-based and a continuation/extremizing of American eugenics. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352989/pdf/bmj00571-0040.pdf Claims that there are “grave dangers” from “running the gauntlet” of smokers at building entrances is a lie. And there are many prepared to lie to push the eugenics agenda. Medical students in particular should be aware that the medical establishment has played a crucial role in deranged, costly ideology (eugenics) in the past. The medical establishment is venturing into dangerous ideology again. There is more than ample evidence that the antismoker mentality is fanatical (delusional) and psychologically/socially/morally toxic.

  • Jim from Nfld
    October 16, 2010 - 18:06

    I think it is reasonable for a ban if Dr.Saltman mentions over 400 universities as well as 4 in Atlantic Canada. If it is not done and non smokers are winning then in a short period of time, companies and individuals will not donate to the University. The smokers can kick and scream all they want but eventually it will happen. I would think twice of going to Memorial University knowing that in the end I might end up with an illness caused by second hand smoke. If a smoker wants to die and not see his children go to this fine University and think it is his/her rights then you can only pity such a sorry individual and a weakness. There are so many programs to help the individual through the rough time of withdrawal.

  • susan
    October 16, 2010 - 00:17

    I'M SICK TO DEATH OF ALL THIS HOLLIER THAN NOW ATTITUDE ABOUT SMOKING. I NOTICE EX-SMOKERS TO BE THE WORST. MAYBE IN A PERFECT WORLD ,BUT GUESS WHAT IT'S NOT. LEAVE WHAT LITTLE BIT OF RIGHTS WE HAVE LEFT ALONE. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE'S AND DO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE! THIS SHOULD BE THE LEAST OF ANYBODY WORRY, SOMETHING SO PETTY AND EVERYONE HAS BLOWN IT WAY OUT OF PROPORTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • STAR
    October 15, 2010 - 20:26

    I think there should be a designated smoking area that is away from the building entrances and main walkways.

  • Toby
    October 15, 2010 - 17:24

    There should be definitely be a ban on smoking at Memorial, if only around the entrances and exits of buildings. In the middle of nowhere on campus I don't consider it much of an issue, and it's unreasonable to think this can actually be enforced or smokers are going to go off-campus to smoke, but they should not be able to smoke around building doors - and it should be enforced. (eastern health buildings, anyone? smokers everywhere with a smoking ban in tact)

  • To Jennifer
    October 15, 2010 - 16:57

    Hey Jennifer. I don;t know if you've noticed that we live in Newfoundland where 9 meters away from a door means you are standing with no shelter from an average wind of about 50 km/hr. Ever try and light a smoke in that kind of wind with no shelter? ever try to keep it lit and not burn away at the same time? Also, before anyone makes the "it looks disgusting to see people smoke" argument. I just want to say that it is disgusting to watch fat people eat. But I'm cool with lettin it go down in public.

  • Fed T F Up
    October 15, 2010 - 16:54

    Keep your pets indoors when it's cold, but make sure the smokers go outside, and don't let them huddle near a building where they might be protected from the wind and cold. HOW RIDICULOUS IS THIS?

  • SARAH
    October 15, 2010 - 13:38

    This is getting ridiculous. Students can choose whether or not they want to smoke. They can also choose whether or not they want to pass through an entrance that is designated smoking or an entrance that has a smoking ban. The UC entrance is the only real issue because they don't have a choice. I'm a non-smoker and I think the demand to ban smoking from campus is out of hand. Pick up a real campus issue, like the fact that the Social Work building has LEAD contamination in the water, the walls are filled with ASBESTOS and the carpets are filled with MOLD. Passing through second hand smoke for 3 seconds is the least of my concerns.

  • SARAH
    October 15, 2010 - 13:35

    This is getting ridiculous. Students can choose whether or not they want to smoke. They can also choose whether or not they want to pass through an entrance that is designated smoking or an entrance that has a smoking ban. The UC entrance is the only real issue because they don't have a choice. I'm a non-smoker and I think the demand to ban smoking from campus is out of hand. Pick up a real campus issue, like the fact that the Social Work building has LEAD contamination in the water, the walls are filled with ASBESTOS and the carpets are filled with MOLD. Passing through second hand smoke for 3 seconds is the least of my concerns.

  • Kim
    October 15, 2010 - 13:17

    Smoking on campus wouldn't bother me if people actually paid attention to the signage. For those of you unaware there are multiple signs directly outside the library doors that say no smoking, it even includes a picture for those of you university students who managed to get accepted when clearly not being able to read. Every time I go the library I have to walk through a cloud of smoke from people who chose not to pay attention to the rules. I don't smoke because I made that choice for myself. Smokers who refuse to pay attention to simple signs frustrate me because now I'm being subjected to second hand smoke when I chose not to put those harmful chemicals into my body. I don't think smoking should be banned from the entire campus but I think those smokers need to be more considerate to those of us that don't smoke.

    • FXR
      October 17, 2010 - 02:57

      "Second hand smoke" is the most illogical unintelligent propaganda claim ever to find its way into the realm of scant possibilities. Have any of you the ability to reason and think for yourselves or does a government strategist have to do all your thinking for you? "Smokers have no right to impose their smoke on those who choose to not ingest deadly tobacco smoke."??? The problem here is a widespread misunderstanding of the basics of your rights. Our rights are not power we should ever compare in arguments with each other. Rights are our power over government intrusion, into affairs where they have no legal authority to go. No legal right that is, until the day we give them that right. You see, when successful divisive lobby agendas such as this one and the growing fat pandemic scam work, as designed and divide us to a degree that we can't solve these issues on our own, as we have done in respect to smoking for many years. The government claims a right to act in a paternalist duty, to solve the issue even to a point that no real issue ever existed without their helping hands. Your taxes are being used to promote an agenda inspiring nothing more important than hatred, not unlike the same one used by Hitler in a reductionist eugenicist role, first giving rights to children and animals, with the former to be protected against; their assumed dangerous parents by wide brush, and later in a view that no adult could be assumed more relevant than a protected child and the state assumes the role of parentage over children at all ages. If you believe your body is so delicate that a little tobacco smoke is of more of a concern, that your rights and freedom, your body must be in pretty bad shape to begin with, and you should be getting your affairs in order, because I suspect you won't be with us for long. If you also agree that the Government and it's paid lobbies, make better parents than you or anyone else and also agree that you do not have the maturity to protect yourself against an unpleasant odor? Well your speak for yourself, where most would simply walk away. There is no good reason people can not work out these issues, outside of paternalist government actions which mean nothing in the realm of health issues, and everything in the realm of moralist issues. They separate church and state for good reason, because given license Governments always digress to cult propagandist activities, Kool Aid and all. Can you hear the jack Boots. Keep whining on command and the noise will attenuate in lock step. This was always about selling hatred to the majority by advertising agency sloganeering "No safe level" is a phrase which affords absolutely no information; funny how it afforded so much to so many. Your being had, by manipulators who believe you will fall for anything, open your eyes and follow the money. The truth of all of this comes into focus immediately. Vote them all out or live under fascist tyranny. Choice is a legitimate right we are loosing an ad campaign at a time.

  • taxpayer too
    October 15, 2010 - 12:04

    Come on people, it is ridiculous for folks to complain that people are smoking outside when there are all kinds of diesel fuel and exhaust everywhere you turn. Most smokers these days are extremely considerate of the non-smokers, you see them huddled in corners by themselves everywhere. I know that smoking is bad for you but if you can still purchase cigarettes legally then you should be able to smoke them, especially outside. A lot of folks here are missing the point that smokers are people as well who also have rights. Is this not a free country where we are not governed by a police state? It is always the squeaky wheels that make the most noise and these are the minorities not the majority. So if you decide to ban smoking on the entire campus where do you think the smokers are going to go? Do you think they are going to quit?? Not likely, what you will be doing is making normal law abiding folks turn into criminals because they have a smoking addiction. Actually going this route is making an even better case for those who smoke pot. Anyone with half a brain knows that smoking pot is not addictive, has many medicinal qualities and does not lead to harder drugs, unless the person has an addictive personality and then everything including alcohol is a major problem. Hey why don't we take this one step further and just ban alcohol altogether, then we can go back to the prohibition days. Prohibiting anything is not going to get people to stop their drug of choice, it just creates more criminals. So I become a criminal because a few don’t like what I do?? Can't anyone see that?? I have never heard anything more ridiculous in my life!!

  • Dave
    October 15, 2010 - 11:52

    Smokey got a point. Those cases were ideal for joints.

  • Smokey McHeatbag
    October 15, 2010 - 11:32

    Screw that! ban smoking all ya wants bys im still gonna smoke there. Same way im still gonna toke up there and same way im gonna sneak beer out of the breezeway to do the above. This anti-smoking crap is getting out of hand. I don't whine and moan when I have to smell the disgusting cheese pizza things that people keep making in the cafeteria microwave. I don't complain about the diesel fumes that make me wanna cough my lungs up in the loading bays. I don't complain about the mold and stink in some of the buildings but yet everyone likes to complain about a little bit of old cigarette smoke. No! It stops right here! right now! You people have already taken away our rights to smoke in public buildings. bars, bingo halls and even my car in the far end of the eastern health hospital only a mere 12 minute walk from the doors. You have also ruined my cigars. I loved smoking single cigars from the stores. The cases they came in made great containers for joints! but you people got the new law in now that says they can't sell singled or flavored smokes becuase kids will want them! so now they go to the liquor store and drink coolers. Good call. You people also ruined the cigarette display cases. I had no idea studios were available in regs until months later because I can't see the things! all you do is inconvenience the lives of other people because of this holier than thou, "You smoke and I don't" attitude. I'm sick of it! I have to spend 15 bucks on a full pack of cigars when I only ever used to want to buy one. Thanks for making me smoke MORE you bunch of tools. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! LEAVE SMOKERS ALONE!

  • Jennifer
    October 15, 2010 - 11:02

    I completely agree that the university should have a smoke free policy but if that is not possible, then at least make the entrances/exits a smoke free area. I live in a city that has a smoking ban bylaw for all public places. This also includes some outdoor space. I work in a hospital that is strictly smoke free and there is a bylaw which prohibits people from smoking within 9 meters of any entrance. The hospital also has a policy that prohibits people from smoking on hospital property. It is enforced by security. The public transportation company also enforces a smoking ban within 9 meters of it's entranceways. If people really need to smoke then they can put on a coat and go outside in any weather, 9 meters away from the door, to get their fix. If they really want the cigarette they will go that far away for it.