Smoke-free University - Policy

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1.0            Purpose and Scope

The University of Queensland (UQ) is an internationally recognised leader in health research, education and training, and is committed to matching its best practice education and research in the areas of public health and individual health with best practice policy. 

This policy supports the Queensland Government approach to eliminate smoking from higher education campuses and aims to eliminate the harmful effects of passive smoking and related discomfort to others.

UQ also has an obligation to meet the primary duty of care requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld). 

This policy outlines the key requirements and principles of the policy as well as responsibilities and actions required for the implementation and ongoing management of the provision of a smoke-free workplace.

The policy applies to:

  • Students;
  • Staff members;
  • Other members of the UQ community, including, but not limited to, members of UQ Senate or other university committees, visiting and adjunct academics, academic or research collaborators, volunteers, visitors, staff of UQ’s controlled entities, consultants and contractors undertaking services for UQ;
  • All University property, campuses, buildings, vehicles or other areas owned, controlled or leased by UQ, except where a specific exception has been granted; and
  • All commercial tenancies operating on University owned, controlled or leased premises.

Exemptions to this policy:

  • UQ student residential colleges will continue to be regulated by the respective colleges’ smoking policies.  This specifically refers to the ten residential colleges situated on the St Lucia campus (2018) - Cromwell College, Duchesne College, Emmanuel College, Grace College, International House, King’s College, St John’s College, St Leo’s College, The Women’s College and Union College.
  • Other exemptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the Vice-Chancellor or Chief Operating Officer, where a sufficient justification is made and where the exemption will not cause unacceptable exposure to others. 


2.0            Principles and Key Requirements

2.1           UQ is committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of its staff members whilst at work and its students and visitors while on campus  

UQ has adopted the following principles:

  • All persons on UQ premises and grounds are entitled to a smoke-free environment.  UQ recognises that staff and students have a right to choose whether to smoke.  However, UQ also recognises that non-smoking staff and students have the right to work and study in an environment that is not impacted by second hand smoke, or the vapour from e-cigarettes and similar devices.

  • Smoking and/or vaping is prohibited, at all times, on University campuses, except where an exemption applies.

  • Smoking and/or vaping is prohibited, at all times, during any approved University fieldwork activity where other persons may be exposed to second hand smoke, or the vapour from e-cigarettes and similar devices, except where an exemption applies.

  • Smoking and/or vaping is prohibited, at all times, in University vehicles.

  • Staff, students and contractors are reminded it is also an offence under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 to smoke near an entrance to an enclosed space; to smoke near children’s playground equipment; to smoke at or near a public transport waiting point; among others.

  • By making the University premises and grounds smoke-free, UQ is aligning its reputation as an international leader in health education and research with best practice policy to support healthy behaviour by students and staff.

  • To encourage and assist smokers who are considering quitting, a number of support services are provided by the University and/or external agencies. 

  • All prospective staff and students are provided with documentation about UQ, which includes information about the University’s policy regarding smoke-free campuses.


2.2           University engagement with tobacco and tobacco related organisations

UQ does not accept funding from the tobacco industry for any purpose, including:

  1. research

  2. learning and teaching;

  3. advancement and endowments;

  4. gifts and awards; and

  5. sponsorship.

Refer to complementary policies:  

  • Submission of Applications for Research Funding, (PPL. 4.10.04; 5.1.5)

  • Conditions of Acceptance of Research Funds, (PPL. 4.10.07; 5.1.2)


2.3           Sale of tobacco, e-cigarettes or similar devices on University campuses

  1. The sale of tobacco and tobacco products from retail outlets or from vending machines is prohibited across UQ.

  2. The exception to (a) above, is where UQ is a party to a legally enforceable agreement pre-dating this policy, permitting a third party to sell cigarettes and tobacco products from specified locations on UQ’s campuses.


2.4           Failure to comply with smoke-free campus policy

Security staff undertake regular patrols of each campus.  Where an individual is found on campus to be smoking as defined above, they will be asked to cease smoking and will be advised of the requirement to comply with this policy.  For staff, students and contractors, failure to comply with this procedure may result in additional action.

  • Students who breach the Smoke-free University Policy may be subject to action under the Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy (PPL. 3.60.04; 6.2.2(a)), which states in part “instances of general misconduct include conduct where a student is contravening any provision of The University of Queensland Act 1998, statutes or policies”. 

  • Staff members who breach the Smoke-free University Policy may be subject to action under the Code of Conduct (PPL. 1.50.01; 6.2), which states “staff are required to comply with the University’s policies and procedures”.

  • Contractors who breach the Smoke-free University Policy may be subject to action under the Contractor Environmental & Occupational Health & Safety (EOHS) Handbook (Part 2; Section 11).


2.5           Smoking cessation support

There are a range of support options for those who wish to quit smoking. The following organisations and services may be contacted:


3.0            Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Person Responsible


Chief Operating Officer

Consider and grant exemptions to this Policy (and according to this Policy) as appropriate.

Director, Health, Safety and Wellness

Provide guidance to the UQ community on smoking on University campuses, consistent with UQ’s commitment to provide a safe, supportive and healthy working and study environment. Further information is available at www.uq.edu.au/wellness-program/smoke-free-uq-1-july-2018.

Manager, UQ Wellness Program

Ensure the smoke-free UQ messaging is consistent, timely, and included in all relevant material.

Heads of Organisational Units

Ensure the staff and students in the Unit are aware of the University Smoke-free Policy.


Address issues associated with non-compliance of the Smoke-free Policy, and provide information and guidance to relevant parties.

Manager, UQ Security

Ensure all security staff are aware of the smoke-free policy and the process to be followed in the event of people smoking on campus.

Staff and students

Contribute to a supportive culture and maintain a smoke-free environment on UQ premises.

If responsible for guests, workers, participants in events on University campuses, ensure that such individuals or groups are informed of the relevant aspects of this policy.

Contractor managers

Advise contractors of the University’s smoke-free policy.

Implement appropriate actions to promote compliance (online contractor induction training will provide contractors with information on the policy).


4.0            Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Monitoring and review activities will be undertaken through consultation between the Health, Safety and Wellness Division, UQ Security, the UQ Health, Safety and Wellness network, and Health, Safety and Wellness committees, which will:

  • assess compliance with the policy and demonstrate/confirm its effectiveness, and

  • identify, assess and promptly address any deficiencies with relevant stakeholders.


5.0            Recording and Reporting

Recording and reporting activities will be undertaken through consultation between the Health, Safety and Wellness Division, UQ Security, the UQ Health, Safety and Wellness network, and Health, Safety and Wellness committees, which

  • ensure that activities and outcomes arising from adoption of this policy are accurately recorded, and

  • ensure that any non-compliance issues and/or adverse incidents (i.e. conflict which has escalated as a result of policy implementation) are recorded and reported to Director, Health, Safety and Wellness, in a timely manner.  


6.0            Definitions


Smoking is the inhalation and exhalation of the smoke of burning tobacco, herbs or drugs.  Smoking also refers to the inhaling from an electronic cigarette or other devices which produce a vapour. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, e-cigars, vapour pens, or similar products and devices). 


The University of Queensland.

University buildings

A building owned by or under the control of the University by virtue of a lease or rental agreement and includes points of entry, windows, bridges, stairways and air conditioning vents and ducts.

University property

University Property means:

  1. any land and building and structures or improvements on that land, owned, controlled or occupied by the University; and
  2. includes parts of buildings, structures or improvements, leased or licenced to UQ or occupied by UQ whether or not the land on which the building or structure is situated is owned or controlled by the University.

Staff member

Any person who is an existing employee of the University.


Any person who is an existing student of the University.


Any person or firm that undertakes a contract to provide materials or labour to perform a service or do a job.


Any person not employed or studying at the University; a contractor working at the University; a dependent of an employee or student of the University.


Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael