28 November 2019

More information available on legislation on smoke-free school grounds

From 1 August 2020, the premises of educational institutions will be smoke-free. This has been known for some time, but now there is more clarity about what the legislation on smoke-free premises of schools will look like. State Secretary Blokhuis of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has sent information about this to the Council of Ministers. This shows, among other things, that smoking zones will not be allowed after 1 August 2020 on the premises of educational institutions, because 'seeing smoking makes you smoke'.

What does this mean for the UU?

Utrecht University wishes to offer its employees, students and visitors a healthy environment. That is why it started university-wide in 2019 to make its premises smoke-free in stages. Some faculties already had smoke-free zones on (parts of) their premises. Since last summer, the Leuvenplein and the premises of the University Library in the city centre are smoke-free. These pilots are used to see what does and does not work, for example in terms of enforcing and designating the non-smoking area. There is still a smoking spot on both premises. Old smoking facilities have been reused. The university will examine the consequences of the new legislation for its smoking policy.

Enforcement and supervision

The educational institutions themselves will be responsible for establishing, designating and maintaining the smoke-free area. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) supervises this. The premises are smoke-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The university is responsible for enforcing the regulations during the use of its buildings and associated grounds.

What is part of the university premises?

The premises that meet one of three criteria below must be made smoke-free:

  • The premises are adjacent to or in the immediate vicinity of a building or facility of an educational institution.
  • The building or facility is used for education.
  • The premises are in use by the educational institution.

The university is going investigate what the above means for making its three campuses smoke-free. In the Utrecht Science Park, for example, a lot of land belongs to the UU, but there are also companies, restaurants and student accommodation on the campus. 

Consultations with USP partners

In recent months, the university has consulted with the municipality and other organisations in the Utrecht Science Park. In the coming period, these consultations will be continued and the university will work together to make the premises smoke-free.

The government process

The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has drawn up a draft General Administrative Regulation (AMvB). In the summer of 2019 it was possible to respond to this by means of an internet consultation. The Ministry put the AMvB on the agenda of the Council of Ministers last Friday. This council agreed to sending the AMvB to the Senate and House of Representatives. They will then discuss the AMvB. If they agree with the proposal, it goes to the Council of State, which gives a final advice to the government. After this advice has been processed, the AMvB becomes final. This is expected to take place in the course of 2020. The Ministry will then inform educational institutions of what the measure means for them.

More information

Would you like to know more about the smoke-free premises of the UU? Please send an e-mail to rookvrij@uu.nl.