Utrecht University is making its premises smoke-free in stages in order to provide a healthy environment for its employees, students and visitors. The premises will be smoke-free with the exception of a number of designated smoking spots where smoking is allowed. The university will use pilots to see what works and what doesn't and it will also use the expertise of its own scientists. The Leuvenplein is the first location that will become smoke-free, with one smoking facility. Employees and students were able to indicate their preference for the location and features of this facility through a questionnaire until 1 March. In total, 227 people did this.
Result of questionnaire
The smoking facility will be placed at the Leuvenlaan. Almost 60% of the respondents preferred this place, about 25% preferred option A and slightly more than 10% preferred option B. The smoking facility will be covered and will include a place to sit. The project group will work on developing a facility based on the preferred features, such as a good provision for cigarette butts.
Leuvenplein will be redeveloped in the coming months. The pavement will be renewed, there will be more bicycle parking places and the sewer will be replaced. As soon as the square is completely ready (expectation: summer 2019), the square is smoke-free and you can only smoke in the smoking facility at the Leuvenlaan (see map).
Legislation on smoke-free school premises
It has been known for some time that primary schools, secondary schools and VET schools are obligated to make their premises 100% smoke-free before 1 August 2020. Since mid-March 2019, it is clear that the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is preparing a general administrative regulation that states that this obligation will also apply to colleges of higher vocational education and universities.
It is not yet clear how a smoking ban will be implemented exactly and to what extent, for example, some designated smoking areas will be permitted. Of course, Utrecht University keeps track of changes in regulations. In terms of the design of the smoking facilities at the pilot locations, the UU will ensure that these can be used for other purposes in the future if necessary.
Second pilot location: University Library city centre
The inner garden and courtyard (with the entrance to the bicycle parking place) of the University Library in the city centre are part of the second pilot. Maintenance work is taking place in the summer and the smoking facility will also be installed. From 2 September , the inner garden and courtyard are smoke-free with one place where smoking is allowed. It will become clear in the coming weeks where the smoking facility will be placed.
Support to quit smoking
Utrecht University does not prohibit smoking, but restricts smoking to designated smoking spots. The project team is investigating what support the university can offer to those who would like to quit smoking.
The project team has spoken with other organisations that have already made their premises smoke-free, such as the UMC Utrecht and the Hogeschool Rotterdam. They are also in contact with the municipality of Utrecht and various parties at the Utrecht Science Park regarding this matter.