Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): UC becomes a 100% smoke-free university

Smoke Free Campus contemplates support programs for smokers who wish to quit. Professionals from Health and Student Welfare, the area leading the initiative, point out that this year the delivery of information to people will be enhanced, oversight will be strengthened and progress will be made in the creation of a UC policy that regulates tobacco consumption.

The university has just reactivated the Smoke-Free Campus campaign , an initiative that was born at the end of 2013 in order to safeguard the well-being of the UC community through healthier spaces on campus. For several years and with the active participation of UC students, teachers and officials, efforts were made to focus on regulating tobacco consumption within the institution, which reached one of its greatest milestones in 2019, when the UC was the first Chilean university to declare its spaces smoke-free.

This year, with the return to face-to-face attendance, the Smoke-Free Campus has sought to promote the dissemination of information in the different university locations, eliminating the transitory areas for smokers that existed on the San Joaquín and Oriente campuses until January.

That is why, as of March of this year, UC is a 100% smoke-free university and, therefore, smoking is not allowed on any of its campuses. Likewise, at the end of 2021, a work table was started with the purpose of creating a new policy regarding the consumption of cigarettes within the university that meets the definition of 100% smoke-free.

Smoke Free Campus contemplates support programs for smokers who want to quit. In the case of UC students, they must go to the PADEU for Student Health and Welfare , while teachers and officials can go to the UC-CHRISTUS Free Tobacco program . Interested persons should write to libredehumo@uc.cl .

“The work of Student Health and Well-being will always be focused on promoting healthy spaces, and, in this sense, understanding the harmful effects of cigarette smoke is crucial” – María Paz Jana, Director of Student Health and Well-being

Náyade Rodríguez, head of the Physical Well-being Unit of Health and Student Well-being, affirms that the strategies of “awareness-raising on university campuses are being reactivated so that the people who have returned to the different places know that all the spaces in the university are free of smoke”. In this sense, the professional adds that in January a “campaign was carried out with our students who are part of the Inspectors for a Smoke-Free Campus or Leaders for Clean Air program, who monitor compliance with the regulations. They were trained at the beginning of December and then they began to be on all the campuses to intervene”.

With these volunteers, new dissemination campaigns were started, in which different accessories have been delivered, such as backpacks and Smoke-Free Campus bags in the different UC locations. This effort to spread the initiative more resulted in approximately 300 students benefiting from the intervention.


signage

In addition to the above, a change in signage to the Smoke Free Campus has been specified, to give the program a more transversal character and aligned with the UC graphic lines in general. “There are new signs. All the ones that were light blue and said Smoke-Free Campus were replaced by the official UC one,” explains Náyade Rodríguez.

Meanwhile, María Paz Jana, director of Student Health and Well-being, highlights the importance of promoting the delivery of information to new UC students about the program. “We are a 100% smoke-free university and we want our freshmen and rookies, along with those who have joined our institution in recent years of the pandemic, to join this initiative. The work of Student Health and Well-being will always be focused on promoting healthy spaces, and, in this sense, understanding the harmful effects of cigarette smoke is crucial”.

At the end of 2021, a work table was established, which seeks to generate a new tobacco consumption policy on campus and establish clear guidelines in that regard. According to Náyade Rodríguez, the table not only brought together Health and Student Welfare professionals, but also other members of the UC community. “We started this table in November, and it includes campus administrators, members of the People’s Office and unions. There is also a nurse from the CovidUC committee and other key agents, such as Pastoral, UC Sports and Sustainability.”

This body will work during 2022 to regulate the consumption of tobacco inside the campus, as well as other regulations. This could translate, for example, into imposing sanctions on people for non-compliance, depending on the severity or repetition of episodes. Once the work table finishes its work, the final document will be ratified by the UC authorities. Meanwhile, the Economic Vice-Rectory has made a “whistleblower line” available to the university community to report any event that violates good practices within the institution, such as smoking on campus.

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