Trinity College Dublin became a tobacco free campus on National No Smoking Day, 6 March. The Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne marked this milestone with the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Students’ Union Sports Officer, Darragh Flood and Healthy Trinity Ambassador, Nuria de Cos Lara by hitting a cigarette-shaped piñata hanging from a tree in Front Square.
The university has been building consensus to become a tobacco free campus over the past five years and is now one with support from more than 70% of staff and students.
Commenting on the significance of tobacco free Trinity, Dr David McGrath, Director, College Health Centre said: “I am proud to say that Trinity is now a tobacco free campus with the exception of three designated smoking zones. Thank you to everyone who has supported the five year process of becoming tobacco free which commenced with a year-long consultation on Trinity’s tobacco policy in 2013-2014, eliciting over 10,000 engagements. Based on your input into that consultation, Tobacco Free Zones were introduced in 2016 and effected an 83% reduction in frequency of observed smoking in the Zones. This policy asks our community to refrain from smoking indoors and outdoors on campus out of consideration for others and to achieve a cleaner campus for all.”
“As well as running 2-3 stop smoking courses per annum, we have run multiple campaigns that promote alternatives to smoking. Last year we created a student-led Healthy Library initiative where Trinity’s sports clubs and societies put on ‘come and try’ sessions in and around the library and encouraged people that rather than taking a smoking break, they could take a yoga, table-tennis, mindfulness, soccer, badminton or board game break instead,” explained Martina Mullin, Trinity’s Health Promotion Officer.
“This year, we will continue with the positive campaigns already in place as well as focusing on the environmental effects of smoking. For example, a group of fourth year students are collecting cigarette butts from outside The Pav and highlighting the damage they do to the environment.Their ‘No ifs or butts’ campaign is concerned about the environmental damage caused by butt litter. Butts contain harmful micro-plastic strands that take 25 years to decompose,” Martina added.