Thursday 15 April 2010

Canterbury to ban smokers from enrolling [updated]

Ok, maybe not yet, but it's the next logical step in oneupmanship between Canterbury, Otago Polytech and the University of Otago. Canterbury restricted its smokers to a few designated outdoor areas a couple of years back and, having gotten away with it, now is banning smoking everywhere. University of Otago is taking its first steps, but laying the groundwork for the future:
But Prof Skegg said it had not been possible to ban smoking altogether on the Dunedin campus because some buildings were located "a considerable distance" from public spaces beyond the campus.

"Smoking in the open area constitutes no risk to other people, but there are frequent complaints about people smoking by doorways and near windows or air vents.

"While we aspire to achieve a completely smoke-free environment in the future, it is necessary to consider the rights of a significant number of staff and students who are addicted to smoking . . .

"It is hoped these measures will be seen as striking an appropriate balance between [smokers] and the preferences of many other members of the university community," he told the university council.
Yup, it's all about striking a balance. We heard exactly the same thing when they restricted smokers here to designated areas away from doorways. Funny how that balancing soon disappears. I'd pay $0.75 for a contract paying $1 if Otago pushed to completely smoke free within the next three years. Anti-tobbac loves compromise, so long as it's always the midpoint between the status quo and shooting smokers. The status quo moves, then so too does the compromise.

If the University thinks students harm others by having a smoke in the middle of a windy quad, is it that far a stretch for it to start buying shonky "third hand smoke" arguments and just ban smokers from campus entirely?

Fortunately, Brad has already submitted his thesis....

Note: Updated to clarify the differences between Otago Polytech and Otago University's positions.


  1. I've switched to e-cigs, which I guess won't be covered. If I happen to be around Canterbury once the ban comes into effect, I think I'd have to buy a pack for protest purposes. I'm guessing it won't be any more enforced than the current policy.

  2. @Brad: I was thinking about a protest cigar, but it's within the University's rights to do stupid things with its property. I'll have the protest cigar on my front lawn once they ban outdoor smoking in the whole city.

  3. They operate with a lot of public money, though. I see them as a quasi-state organization.

  4. @Brad: They're quasi-state, but in a competitive system. If the rule for going into an IRD office were that you had to hop on one foot, we couldn't defend that on property rights grounds as folks can be compelled to show up at IRD offices. But the universities compete somewhat with each other, and students can choose which school to attend. Nothing would be stopping Vic or Massey from implementing a smoker-friendly rule and trying to compete for students on that basis.