Butting out at UTM


Staff and faculty from the UTM Health and Safety Committee partnered with students from the Green Team, the Leave the Pack Behind program, and Peer Health Volunteers (PHV) from the UTM Health & Counselling Centre last Wednesday in order to promote the Move Your Butt campaign.

Photo source: Chad Jankowski
Photo source: Chad Jankowski

As part of a series for National Non-Smoking Week events took place across campus last week. The goal of the Move Your Butt campaign was encouraging people who choose to smoke to respect the choice of non-smokers by moving their butt at least nine meters away from designated, smoke-free entrances on campus. These nonsmoking entrances are particularly important for students with allergies and breathing difficulties, but also permit all UTM community members to travel between buildings without inhaling unwanted smoke and lung pollution.

In order to drive the point home, nine meter mark lines were chalked outside of the designated non-smoking entrances around campus such as the main entrance to the Library, CCT, South Building and residences, and volunteers were present to ask smokers to please move away from the doors. Most smokers willingly moved away when asked by volunteers, and many moved outside of the marked off area without having to be approached at all.

With the smoke free areas clearly marked, I spent more time thanking smokers for respecting the other community members by moving away from the doors than I actually spent asking them to step away, says Chad Jankowski, student development coordinator within Student Affairs and the Health & Counselling Centre. It was great to hear that many of the volunteers were thanked by both smokers and non-smokers who appreciated seeing the nine-meter rule being promoted.

Non-Smoking Week also aimed to raise awareness of the resources and support services that are available to help students reduce or quit smoking. Both Peel Health and the Canadian Cancer Society held displays in CCIT during the week, where they were able to talk with students between classes. The students from UTMs Leave the Pack Behind programme were also around campus to offer studentfriendly resources and support for those interested in quitting or helping a friend quit smoking, as well as providing carbon monoxide breathalyzer tests to anyone interested in seeing how much carbon monoxide – a toxic byproduct of tobacco smoke – was currently in their lungs.