Up in Smoke

Will Lakehead follow Georgian College, ban smoking on campus?

By: Emily Macdonald, Staff Writer

Smoking cigarettes used to be widely accepted as a stress reliever and at one time, was even considered to be healthy, with companies advertising their cigarettes as “doctor recommended.” This changed in 2003, when the “Clean Air Act” was introduced, banning smoking in restaurants and other public places.   

With the legalization of marijuana, schools have been asked a lot of questions about smoking on campus.  Since Georgian College has adopted the goal of a Smoke-Free campus by May 2019, other schools might be following suit. While most schools have not seen an increase in public smoking, here on the Orillia campus, 8 of 20 randomly selected students we spoke to said they smoke marijuana and/or cigarettes.  

Lakehead already has a standard smoking policy, that includes designated smoking areas and 100 dollar fines for breaking these rules. Although smoking cigarettes on campus in the marked areas are still allowed, according to the Lakehead “Cannabis on Premises Policy,” any “recreational smoking or vaping of cannabis on Lakehead University Property is prohibited.” The Policy also states: “Recreational consumption of cannabis through other means on Lakehead University Property is prohibited except in residence rooms and in accordance with this Policy.”    

Banning smoking on campus will have benefits, like lowering the risk of second-hand smoke, but will arguably also have downsides. These could include lowering performance and heightening stress for students who do smoke.

A Lakehead student who smokes and prefers to remain anonymous spoke to The Argus about smoking on campus: “I’m really glad that the Lakehead rules about smoking aren’t changing yet because I think everything’s alright as it is for now. I’m really shocked that Georgian College is banning smoking on campus because I think it will make life more difficult for students. Many students at Georgian smoke and banning smoking on campus will be a huge inconvenience.”

They added, “I think things work on our campus the way they are. Smoking is an addiction that demands to be appeased every so often, and being able to smoke on campus makes my life much easier as I can quickly step out between classes without disrupting my schedule too much.”

With the general rules regarding smoking at Lakehead unchanging for now, smokers should have nothing to worry about – but if Georgian College achieves their 2019 goal, there is potential for change in the future.