28 September 2011

Proposed Smoke-Free Campus

Last Friday, the USU Commercial Operations Director and I met with University staff to discuss the future of the Smoke-Free Environments Policy. It was a valuable opportunity for us to discuss exactly what a smoking ban on campus would mean for the University community, and we were therefore very pleased to be a part of the process as representatives of the student body.

The final smoking policy will be taken to Senate for consideration on Monday, 31 October. The University has told us that the online polls and submissions will inform the final policy. Their research showed that approximately 83% of respondents approved of the current policy, which includes smoking exclusion zones on campus, while around 78% approved of a complete ban on campus.  

As operators of Hermann’s and Manning Bar, two on-campus venues popular with both smoking and non-smoking patrons, the USU has suggested possible exclusion zones for smoking patrons in the bars during ticketed events. Under the University of Sydney Liquor Accord and venues’ licenses, ticketed events must be enclosed for the safety of patrons, minimising the risk of alcohol and drug-related violence. Prohibiting smoking within enclosed events will force patrons to leave the premises and detract from this licensing condition. In addition, the University’s proposed policies are pushing for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes on campus, which the USU (as sole vendors of tobacco products on campus) will duly comply with if enacted.

Following these discussions, we expect that a comprehensive University policy will be taken to Senate next month. The USU has been assured that we will be consulted with again in mid-October prior to the policy being finalised, and we will keep you updated when that occurs.

The USU is committed to a healthy campus environment, and we’re very pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the proposal with the University and work together with them to ensure the best outcome for the University community.

What do you think of the proposed ban? Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment below.  

Sibella Matthews


  1. Even smokers themselves should appreciate the need for smoke-free areas on campus - particularly areas such as the Quad and Eastern Avenue which see thousands of students walk by every day. There might be arguments over just how much of the campus should be smoke-free, but this isn't the major problem. The major problem, particularly for the USU, is the ban on selling cigarettes. If the ban does not encompass the entire campus(es) and smoking is still allowed in some areas, then the selling of cigarettes should still be allowed. The press that this ban is getting is a strong message that USyd is anti-smoking as it stands, and this extra measure just takes away another revenue stream for the USU at the worst possible time.

  2. Sibella (USU President)October 5, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Thanks for your comment Cameron. You're correct that a ban on the sale of cigarettes would remove another revenue stream for the USU, however the University has made it very clear to us that it is a non-negotiable at this time. That is to say that it's very likely that a ban on the sale of tobacco products will be included in the University's final proposal.