Why Can’t I Smoke on Campus?


If you would like to smoke a cigarette while at university in Australia, you’re probably going to have to take it outside… the campus.

Attitudes towards smoking can be a major culture shock for many international students while in Australia.

The University of Western Australia was the first to become completely smoke-free back in 2012. Since then we have seen many universities around the country follow in their path.

The policies apply to everybody, and while some have introduced designated smoking zones, most have prohibited it all on all university land. Those caught smoking will face ‘disciplinary action’.

Why have they done this?

The simple answer is health. By now we are all aware of the dangers of smoking, but second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous. Heart disease and lung cancer are just two of the many detrimental effects that second smoke can induce. Young people are especially susceptible to the health harms of involuntary smoking for long into the future.

This movement has been unique in that it has not stemmed from governmental pressure, but organically from the universities themselves.

Other smoking rules in Australia

Smoking inside restaurants, pubs and clubs was banned in Victoria in 2007. Earlier this year smoking was been banned from schools, courts, hospitals and police stations too.

Just this month in Victoria, smoking is now prohibited in nearly all outdoor dining venues. Legislation has been enacted to require a four-metre buffer, or a 2.1m tall partition, between smokers and non-smokers while dining outside. Patrons that ignore the new legislation could face a fine of $777.

Interestingly, Victoria is the last state to enact this sort of legislation. South Australia and New South Wales administered the same legislation in 2016, while Queensland and Western Australia enacted their smoke-free laws in 2006.

It is worth your time, and money, to pay attention to the smoking rules in your area.

Check with your university

Be sure to check with your university as to their smoking policy. Here is a list of universities in Australia that have been identified as having smoke-free campus policies in place.

Want to quit?

It is hoped that enforcing these policies will encourage people to reduce the amount they are smoking and possibly quit completely.

Your university may have on campus resources to assist with reducing your smoking habits, be sure to ask your student centre.

The Australian Government also conducts a ‘Quit Now’ program. There are two services available as part of the program.

  • Quitline: a telephone information and advice service that provides some ‘best practices’ and guidelines for assisting with quitting. Callers can opt for a call-back service that will provide them with six follow-up phone calls from a qualified counsellor. Call 13 78 48 for the cost of a local call.
  • QuitCoach: QuitCoach provides you with a personalised quitting plan and is designed to provide useful advice wherever you are on your quitting journey. It is also free and has helped thousands to achieve their goal of becoming a non-smoker.