A new initiative is working to remind UTM students to stay nine metres away from doorways when smoking near the entrances of buildings on campus.

The UTM Health and Counselling Centre and Campus Police Services are working together to distribute resource cards to smokers who agree to move nine metres away from entrances.

In addition to a “thank you” message, the cards provide information regarding resources available on campus for students looking to quit, which include free nicotine replacement therapy gum, patches, and counselling.

According to health education coordinator Chad Jankowski, the goal of the resource cards is to “provide [campus police] with a tool to help engage with students who smoke, in a positive, supportive way, and to help make sure students are aware of the resources available should they want them”.

Although smoking within campus buildings is not permitted under both the Smoke Free Ontario Act and the University of Toronto Smoking Policy of 1995, not smoking within nine metres of entranceways at postsecondary institutions is not covered under either regulation.

“When we find people smoking near entranceways, we are asking them if they would move away to smoke. We are also handing out these cards,” said campus police manager Robert Messacar in an interview with The Medium.

According to Messacar, a $305 fine can be issued to those found smoking inside of campus buildings, while campus police officers and patrollers seek voluntary compliance from smokers when asked to move nine metres away from the doorways, asking them to respect other people who do not want to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

The HCC’s Leave the Pack Behind, a peer health education team focusing on tobacco education, reduction, and cessation, is responsible for chalking entranceways to outline the nine-metre distance smokers are asked to stand from doorways.

“Our team, along with Campus Police, encourages smokers to stand away from the doors and thanks those who are already doing so,” said Jankowski. “Both of our departments respect the right of smokers and focus our messaging on education rather than enforcement.”