The University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) will reevaluate the Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) on campus this spring.
Almost a year has passed since the DSAs were set up around campus and the administration is currently evaluating their use.
“I anticipate that we’ll report on this to campus governance this coming spring,” said Mark Overton, dean of Student Affairs.
Last December, the Governing Council approved a smoke-free policy, updating the smoking regulations at all three campuses.
The updates included making the St. George campus completely smoke-free and prohibiting smoking anywhere on campus.
DSAs were implemented on the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses for a transitional period in order to lessen DSA usage and cease smoking on campus over time.
“One of the differences in UTM’s implementation [of new smoking regulations] is that most St. George campus users can quickly and easily access public streets and sidewalks that crisscross much of the campus to smoke while remaining in compliance with U of T’s policy,” said Overton.
“That’s not the case at UTM, which is bordered by public property […] for that reason, we established targeted DSAs,” continued Overton.
There are a total of 12 DSAs at the UTM campus. There is one for every main building, and they are all approximately 100 feet from the main entrances.
According to Overton, the administration’s goals for the DSAs are to reduce users’ consumption of smoking and vaping products, and to reduce non-users’ second-hand exposure.
“We’re working to remain nimble, to make decisions on DSAs based on both of those goals,” said Overton. “There have been fewer complaints about smoking and vaping on campus since the introduction of DSAs.”
Although there are currently no specific targets and deadlines for reducing the number of DSAs, UTM is committed to reducing their number over time, said Overton.
Students do not believe that this is feasible.
“People already smoke in the non-designated areas, so I feel like [having fewer] smoking zones is just going to make them want to smoke anywhere,” said Sheily Nanavati, a 20-year-old student non-smoker.
“People aren’t going to stop smoking on campus, that’s not how it works,” said a first-year Psychology and Sociology student-smoker who wished to remain anonymous.
Come spring, UTM administration will provide an update on the DSAs on campus.