A Tobacco-Free Campus: Is It Possible?

The AUC took an action, is it time for all universities to do so, too?

What if one day, you wake up to an email from our university stating that it is no longer allowed to smoke on campus? At least not everywhere, not in most places. How would you react to it? I’m sure some will be frustrated (most probably the smokers) and others will feel relieved, but where would this lead, anyway? What purpose is behind this sudden decision? And from where did they get the idea?

Well, apparently, the American University in Cairo is already working on a smoking-free campus, and students do not know how to feel about it.

Clearly, the AUC has a very determined plan for the campus to become the 1st tobacco-free university in Egypt, and it started since 2018! It will be through three phases, in which they gradually minimize the space that smoking is allowed in until there is no place for smoking at all.  

The first phase started with installing designated smoking areas, the second was in September 2018, where there is no smoking allowed inside or outside the pedestrian entrances of AUC. And finally, the third phase was just applied in February 2019, which is the prohibition of tobacco on all AUC properties.

The AUC cited reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Surgeon General stating that second-hand smoke exposures can actually cause diseases and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. So, as an educational institute, the AUC is committed to this change, in order to respect the right of the non-smokers and protect the students, faculty, staff and visitors.

On the other hand, not all students have reacted to the new policy with open hands and warm hearts. Some students believe that it’s a challenging goal because they simply can’t control the entire campus. They know that some people need a healthy environment, but also smoking is a legal habit, and a considerable number of people smoke; the only solution is to have a designated place for smokers.

However, we don’t know how far this plan has gone, and whether it worked, or everyone just brushed it off. But what we do know is that we want to hear all about your opinions: what do you think of the policy, and what would you do if MIU started thinking of applying it? Share with us your opinions in the comments, we’d love to hear them.