Bord rookvrij terrein

The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is preparing legislation to make the premises of educational institutions smoke-free as from 1 August 2020. A general administrative regulation (AMvB) has been drawn up for this purpose. The Council of Ministers have agreed with State Secretary Blokhuis’ proposal which will now be put forward to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

This regulation, which also applies to universities, is in line with the university’s ambition to offer its employees a healthy environment. That is why it already started making part of its premises smoke-free in 2019, using pilots to test what works and what does not. The Leuvenplein and the premises of the University Library in the city centre are the two pilot locations and they are smoke-free since the summer of 2019.

For university buildings bordering on municipal territory, the rule is that you can smoke when standing at least seven meters away from the entrance/exit of a building.

The university wishes to protect non-smokers against smoke nuisance and passive smoking more than it does now. The UU also wishes to make an end to the annoyance of cigarette butts, which many people find a nuisance. Of course, the choice to smoke remains the students’ own responsibility. The UU offers support if you want to quit smoking (see below).

More information

Would you like to know more about the smoking policy? Send an email to rookvrij@uu.nl

The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is preparing legislation to make the premises of educational institutions smoke-free as from 1 August 2020. 

It is not yet clear how the smoking ban will be implemented exactly. The ministry will inform the educational institutions about this in the course of 2020. Of course, Utrecht University keeps track of changes in regulations. 

In 2019, the first step was to make the Leuvenplein and the premises of the University Library in the city centre smoke-free. The UU collected input from smokers and non-smokers during the implementation of these pilots, for example about the location of a smoking facility and which characteristics such a facility should have.

  • Leuvenplein: smoke-free since 26 August 2019, designated smoking spot at Leuvenlaan 
  • University Library City Centre premises: smoke-free from 2 September 2019, designated smoking spot in garden behind Drift 25

Since the end of November 2019, it is clear that, from 1 August 2020, smoking zones will not be allowed on the premises of educational institutions. The current smoking shelters will be removed before this date. 

Do you smoke and would you like to quit? Then Utrecht University is happy to help you along by providing the following suggestions.

  • Online:
    • Smokefree.gov: On this English website of the USA National Cancer Institute you can find a lot of information, tools and tips if you want to quit smoking.
    • Ikstopnu.nl: On this Dutch website you will find a lot of information and tips about quitting smoking.
  • General practitioner: Go to your Dutch general practitioner for advice. He or she can refer you to a quit smoking programme. These programmes are reimbursed by your Dutch basic health insurance (basisverzekering). 
  • Books about quitting smoking: Utrecht University provides a limited number of self-help books for employees and students that would like to quit smoking. Would you like to receive this book? Send an email to rookvrij@uu.nl in which you state your UU address details, the title of the book and why you would like to receive the book. The first sixty employees/students that submit a request will receive a book.
    • “Easy way to stop smoking” written by Alan Carr

Infographic about available support when you would like to quit smoking

The university consults with organisations that have already made their premises smoke-free, such as Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and UMC Utrecht, and also with faculties that are already experimenting with a tightened smoking policy like the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. What can the university learn from these organisations? What works, what doesn't? The university also consults with the municipality, other organisations at the Utrecht Science Park and local residents. In addition, expertise from Trimbos Institute and the university’s own researchers in the field of behavioural change will be used.

With its smoke-free premises, the university will join the social support for smoke-free initiatives. For example, the social initiative Smoke-free generation, which is getting more and more support from companies, schools and sports clubs that are becoming smoke-free.

In addition, the government concluded a so-called prevention agreement with agreements between more than seventy organisations in 2018. Where smoking is concerned, the goal is to have a smoke-free generation in 2040

The UU also wishes to make an end to the annoyance of cigarette butts, which many people find a nuisance. The environmental damage caused by cigarette butts can thus be reduced. It can take up to eighteen months for a butt to break off. Cigarette butts contain many toxic substances apart from nicotine and tar, such as benzene, nitrosamine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and arsenic.