Smoke-Free environment

The University has a Smoke-free Environment Policy. Smoking is banned on all campuses, except for within designated smoking areas. Smoking in these areas is only allowed in the immediate vicinity of the "Smoking Area" sign and ash trays are provided for cigarette butts.

Thank you for not smoking card

Please help to keep our campus smoke-free:

  • Refrain from smoking outside of designated smoking areas.
  • Inform visitors that the University is smoke-free and seek their cooperation.
  • If you see someone smoking on campus, inform them (politely) that our campuses are smoke-free.
  • Direct smokers to the nearest designated smoking area.
  • Hand-out “thank you for not smoking” cards, available from your Campus Assist Officer.

Need support to quit smoking?

Quitting is an individual decision. Every individual needs to determine which method is best suited to their personal situation. Listed below are resources available at the University as well as some external resources.

  • Talk to a GP, pharmacist or other health professional for advice and support to quit. For an on campus confidential general practitioner service go to the University Health Services at Wentworth and Holme Buildings.
  • Quitline - An online resource providing encouragement and support to help you quit smoking as well as professional Quitline advisors. Tel: 13 7848 (13 QUIT).
  • 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.
  • "Your room" website - go to the Tobacco page for information on smoking and help for quitting smoking.

Frequently asked questions

The amended Smoke-Free Environment Policy became effective on 22 January 2019.

The key changes in the revised policy include:

  • addition of e-cigarettes in the definition of smoking so that vaping of e-cigarettes is banned on campus (except for designated smoking areas). NSW joined four other states by passing legislation in July 2018 to prohibit vaping in public spaces;
  • alignment with the legislative ban on smoking within 4 metres of commercial outdoor eating and drinking areas (previously 10 metres); and
  • new clause on Compliance (clause 11) which clarifies how policy breaches should be escalated.

Other frequently asked questions:

How do I know how far the designated smoking area extends?
What will happen if someone smokes outside a designated smoking area?
The designated smoking areas are too far away from my work area/lecture theatre, can’t more accessible smoking areas be added?
As a manager, how do I manage the time lost from the workplace by staff who go for a smoke during normal working hours?
What is passive smoking or second hand smoke?
Why can't we rely on ventilation to clear the air?
What does the legislation say in terms of smoking?
What does the public think about restricting smoking?
Why should cigarettes not be sold to adults on campus when they can easily buy them off campus?
What are other universities doing about smoking on their campuses?
What are local councils doing?

How do I know how far the designated smoking area extends?

Smoking is only allowed in the immediate vicinity of the "Smoking Area" sign and ash trays are provided for cigarette butts.

What will happen if someone smokes outside a designated smoking area?

The University is using signage, posters, web information and other communication activities to inform staff, students, affiliates and visitors where the designated smoking areas are. If someone smokes outside a designated smoking area they may be approached by a staff member or student, reminded that the area is smoke-free and respectfully asked not to smoke or to move to a designated smoking area. Visitors in particular may be unaware of the new policy and the approach should be informative rather than confrontational.

Individuals who do not feel comfortable approaching someone who is breaching the policy, or where an offender does not comply, may refer the matter to:

  • the offender's supervisor or manager (where known); or
  • the local Campus Assist Officer; or
  • the Helpdesk on 9351 2000; or
  • if the problem persists, to Campus Security staff (9351 3487) who will escalate the matter through the appropriate line of management.

The designated smoking areas are too far away from my work area/lecture theatre, can’t more accessible smoking areas be added?

The designated smoking areas have been carefully selected based on specific criteria which include: safety; requisite distance from main thoroughfares; even distribution across each campus; adequate distance from buildings, eating and drinking areas. The number of designated smoking areas on each campus is limited to ensure that the University community is not exposed to second hand smoke, thereby providing a healthy and safe environment for all.

As a manager, how do I manage the time lost from the workplace by staff who go for a smoke during normal working hours?

If a manager finds that a staff member is spending too much time away from their work, over and above their normal lunch hour, they should counsel them appropriately, whether they are going for a smoke, coffee or chatting to colleagues, etc. It is the individual’s choice to smoke and they have to manage this appropriately, in accordance with University policy, so that it does not impact on their work.

What is passive smoking or second hand smoke?

Passive smoking is the inhalation of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). ETS is a combination of sidestream smoke, which comes directly from burning tobacco, and mainstream smoke, which is exhaled from the smoker. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and more than 60 of these are known to cause cancer in humans (NSW Health and The Cancer Council Fact Sheet, SHPN (TH) 070207).

Why can’t we rely on ventilation to clear the air?

Enclosed or partly enclosed smoking rooms are unsafe. Air conditioning and ventilation systems do not remove all the dangerous components in cigarette smoke. Even if the visible smoke is removed, toxic gases, vapours and small particles of smoke are harmful to health and cannot be removed mechanically.

What does the legislation say in terms of smoking?

The Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW) requires enclosed public places in NSW to be smoke-free. Occupiers need to take reasonable steps to prevent smoke caused by smoking in outdoor areas from drifting into smoke-free areas. The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) places a duty on all employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their staff as well as for the health and safety of the public while on their premises. These obligations extend to patrons, visitors, and contractors.

What does the public think about restricting smoking?

Public opinion consistently supports smoking bans in public places. Increasing community awareness of the harmful effects of second hand smoke, and given that 82% of the NSW population are non-smokers (NSW Population Health Survey 2006, Centre for Epidemiology and Research, NSW Department of Health), has led the community to accept, and even expect the availability of smoke-free areas.

Why should cigarettes not be sold to adults on campus when they can easily buy them off campus?

Having our campus free of cigarette sales sends a message to students, staff and visitors that the University of Sydney does not promote or support smoking.

What are the other universities doing about smoking on their campuses?

Most Australian universities now have a smoke-free policy in place. These include all the GO8 universities.

What are local councils doing about smoking in public places?

Within Australia there is both state and local government legislation restricting smoking in some outdoor areas. These areas vary between Councils and may include: within 10 metres of children’s playgrounds, at sporting fields, alfresco dining areas, Council run and sponsored events, beaches, reserves and parks. Marrickville Council imposed a ban on smoking in footpath dining areas that became effective on 1 July 2011.