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UC Chile Becomes a 100% Smoke-Free University

Since March, smoking is not allowed on any campus. However, the "Smoke-Free Campus" campaign includes support programs for smokers who wish to quit smoking because there will be no transitional smoking areas anymore.

Students in Main Campus

photo_camera (Photo: Karina Fuenzalida)

The Student Health Office has just reactivated the Smoke-Free Campus campaign.

It started at the end of 2013 to safeguard the welfare of the UC Chile community through healthier spaces within the campus.

For several years and with the active participation of UC Chile students, faculty and staff, the University focused on regulating tobacco consumption within the institution. 

It reached one of its significant milestones in 2019 when UC was the first Chilean university to become smoke-free.

With the return of in-person classes this year, the Smoke-Free Campus campaign communicated information at university campuses. It also eliminated the temporary smoking areas available at the San Joaquín and Oriente campuses until January.

As of March, UC Chile is a 100% smoke-free university and, therefore, smoking is not allowed on any of its campuses.

At the end of 2021, the University started a working group to produce a new policy on cigarette consumption within the University that would be 100% smoke-free.

The institution will implement support programs for smokers who wish to quit:

Physical Wellness Unit of Health and Student Welfare reactivated strategies to raise awareness on university campuses.

"We need people coming back to the university to know that all spaces are now smoke-free," says Náyade Rodríguez, head of the Unit.

Last January, they started a campaign with students who were part of a two supervisors program:

  • Inspectors for a Smoke-Free Campus (Fiscalizadores por un Campus Libre de Humo).
  • Leaders for Clean Air (Líderes por un Aire Limpio).

"We trained them in early December, and then they started to visit all campuses to monitor compliance with the regulations," explained Rodríguez.

New campaigns started with these volunteers. They handed out different accessories, such as backpacks and Smoke-Free Campus bags, at all UC Chile campuses. This effort to further disseminate the initiative resulted in approximately 300 students benefiting from the intervention.

New Smoking Signs

Free-Smoke Campus sign
Free-Smoke Campus sign

The University also installed new signs to give the program a more transversal character and align with the UC Chile graphic style in general.

"There are new signs. The official UC Chile signage replaced all the light blue Smoke-Free Campus signs," explained Náyade Rodríguez.

Meanwhile, María Paz Jana, Director of Health and Student Welfare, stressed how important it is to inform new UC Chile students about the program.

"We are a smoke-free university, and we want our first-year students and international students to join this initiative. Therefore, we focused our work on promoting healthy spaces. In this sense, understanding the harmful effects of cigarette smoke is key."

New Tobacco Consumption Policy

At the end of 2021, UC Chile established a working table to generate a new tobacco consumption policy on campuses and set clear guidelines.

According to Náyade Rodríguez, the working table not only brought together professionals from Health and Student Welfare, but also other members of the UC community.

"We started this table in November. We included campus administrators, members of the Office of Personnel Management and the unions. There is also a nurse from the Covid-UC Chile committee and other key agents, such as the Office of Campus Ministry and Christian Culture (Pastoral), UC Chile Sports and Sustainability."

This body will work during 2022 to regulate tobacco consumption on campuses and other regulations. It could mean, for example, imposing sanctions on individuals for non-compliance, depending on the severity or repetition of episodes.

Once the working group finishes its work, UC Chile authorities will ratify the resulting document.

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