Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Frequently asked questions

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

The University of Western Australia became a smoke-free area on 1 January 2012.

  1. What is environmental tobacco smoke and is it really that dangerous?
  2. When did the University become smoke free?
  3. Are all of the University premises and facilities smoke free?
  4. Who is affected by the University’s policy on smoking?
  5. Where can I smoke under this policy?
  6. Is smoking permitted at University Hall?
  7. What about the rights of smokers?
  8. Will tobacco products continue to be sold on campus?
  9. How is the University’s policy on smoking being enforced?
  10. Where can I access help to quit smoking?
  11. Where do I report an increase in discarded cigarette butts and associated tobacco products and packaging on campus?
  12. Are the other Universities in Western Australia also smoke free?
  13. My question has not been answered. Where can I go for more information?

What is environmental tobacco smoke and is it really that dangerous?

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is the combination of two types of smoke from a burning tobacco product such as a cigarette, pipe or cigar):

  • sidestream smoke: smoke that is produced directly from burning tobacco
  • mainstream smoke: smoke that is exhaled by a smoker.

Tobacco and tobacco smoke contain at least 4000 chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and toxic. These include tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, arsenic and formaldehyde.

The terms ‘passive smoking’ and ‘second-hand smoke’ are used to describe the exposure of a non-smoker to environmental tobacco smoke. When exposed, the non-smoker absorbs the same chemicals found in tobacco that the smoker does. This also places them at increased risk of adverse health effects.

The health effects of long-term exposure to ETS are well established and there is new evidence that even short-term exposure can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

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When did the University become smoke free?

The University became smoke free on 1 January 2012. Prior to this the University had a smoking policy in place that covered the mandatory requirements of relevant legislation.

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Are all of the University premises and facilities smoke free?

Yes. Smoking is prohibited in, or at, all of the University’s buildings, properties and workplaces. The University endeavours to provide a completely smoke free environment.

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Who is affected by the University’s policy on smoking policy?

The smoke free policy applies to any person who studies and works at, or visits the University.

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Where can I smoke under this policy?

You cannot smoke anywhere in, or at, the University’s buildings, properties or workplaces.

Waste disposal units are provided at the main entries to the University’s premises. Please use these units to dispose of cigarette butts and associated tobacco products and packaging before entering any of the University’s building, properties or workplaces.

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Is smoking permitted at University Hall?

As outlined in the University’s policy on smoking, the Head of University Hall can nominate one outside area for smoking to help control fire, personal and traffic safety.

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What about the rights of smokers?

The University strives to provide an environment for its staff, students, contractors and visitors that is conducive to positive health and wellbeing.

Whilst respecting an individual’s decision to smoke, the University believes that non-smokers have the right to breathe air uncontaminated with the carcinogens and other harmful toxins present in environmental tobacco smoke.

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Will tobacco products continue to be sold on campus?

No. The University environment will be free from tobacco advertising, promotion, sponsorship, sale, and both direct and indirect research funding from the tobacco industry.

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How is the University’s policy on smoking being enforced?

All staff, students, contractors and visitors have the right to report breaches in the University’s policy on smoking. The University has adopted two levels of enforcement.

  • 9.1. Legal, mandatory requirements pertaining to smoking indoors, in food areas, or within five metres of a door, window or air intake will be continue to be handled in line with the relevant University disciplinary procedures and applicable University by-laws. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Tobacco Control Act, the University must enforce the rules in relation to these areas. Comprehensive information is provided in the University’s policy on smoking.
  • 9.2. The University will use an educational, health promoting approach to inform its staff, students, contractors and visitors of the broader smoke free policy.

Communication tools such as fixed signs, banners, printed information resources, web information, magazine articles, media releases, staff and student email messages, orientation week activities, print advertisements, and information for new staff and students will be used.

To view the University’s smoke free information resources, visit the Resources for the UWA Smoke Free campaign page.

If someone is breaching the smoke free policy, you may politely remind them that the area is smoke-free and ask them not to smoke. Information cards containing smoking cessation support services are available from Safety and Health  and can be given to the person smoking.

Scripts for suggested communication with someone breaching the policy are also available on the Resources for the UWA Smoke Free campaign page.

If a person(s) continues to breach the policy, staff and students should report the breach to their Manager/Supervisor or Head of School.

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Where can I access help to quit smoking?

The University supports staff and students who want to quit smoking. If you would like more information there are a number of resources and support services outlined on the Useful Links and Smoking Cessation Resources and Services pages.

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Where do I report an increase in discarded cigarette butts and associated tobacco products and packaging on campus?

You can lodge a report with the Facilities Management Jobs

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Are the other universities in Western Australia also smoke free?

Yes. Curtin University and Edith Cowan University also became smoke free on 1 January 2012. Notre Dame University also has a strict non-smoking policy in place.

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My question has not been answered. Where can I go for more information?

If you have a question about the University’s policy on smoking that has not been answered, please contact Safety and Health on (+61 8) 6488 3938

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