Smoking ban starts today on USQ campuses

STUDENTS have welcomed smoking bans at USQ campuses but the figures show that Australia is lagging behind other countries when it comes to ditching the durries.

New data reveals that Australia's decline in annual smoking rates has almost stalled at 0.2 per cent between 2013-2016.

The USQ ban which started today on International No-Tobacco Day is being called a "breath of fresh air".

Smoking is now banned in all areas including designated smoking areas at USQ Ipswich, Springfield and Toowoomba, with Toowoomba's residential area given six months to quit.

A poll conducted by the QT showed 66% of readers supported the ban, while 33% were against.

And Springfield students say they support the move.

USQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor Carl Rallings said the university was committed to providing a healthy place of work and study for the University's employees and students.

"The negative health impacts of tobacco smoke are now well recognised, posing significant health risks to smokers and non-smokers alike," Mr Rallings said.

"Across the Australian higher-education sector, a growing number of tertiary institutions are TAFE Colleges are joining a number of universities nationally that are already smoke-free."

Student success and wellbeing director Dr Christie White said it had been a seven-and-a-half year process to implement the ban.

The idea to first make USQ smoke free was raised back in 2009, later a smoking survey in 2011 showed solid support for the ban.

After a trial of non-smoking areas in 2012 the university introduced the first smoke free areas in 2013.

Dr White said if a student or staff member were found smoking on campus the new policy would be explained to them, though repeat offenders would be dealt with on a case by case basis.

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