News
Sep 21, 2018

Students Vote Overwhelmingly in Favour of Smoke-Free Campus

More than 70 per cent of voters opted to support Tobacco Free Trinity in a vote held alongside class representative elections.

Aoife KearinsSenior Editor
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Ivan Rakhmanin for The University Times

More than 70 per cent of students voted today in favour of a set of proposals designed to make Trinity tobacco free.

The result of the plebiscite will not be binding but will inform Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union’s (TCDSU) policy on the matter. Students voted in favour of the proposals made by Tobacco Free Trinity, an initiative that is aiming to expand smoke-free zones on campus significantly. 1,453 students voted in the plebiscite.

The union had not had a position on the issue since last November, when students voted at council to remove the old mandate requiring TCDSU to engage with the College’s sub-committee on smoking.

On the ballot, students were asked to vote on whether they agreed with the proposals set out by Tobacco Free Trinity. The plebiscite was held in conjunction with elections for class representatives, which take place every year at the beginning of term.

The union has held contradictory stances on the issue in the past, with the issue often contentious. For a period of time, the union actively opposed the tobacco-free Trinity initiative, after a referendum in 2014 in which 53 per cent of voters decided against supporting a smoke-free campus. However, the union changed its mandate in 2015 to support the introduction of smoke-free zones in “identified problem areas on campus”.

College has strived to create a tobacco-free campus for some years now. In June 2016, Trinity installed tobacco-free zones in three areas on campus. In these zones, smoking is prohibited both indoors and outdoors. These three zones are around the College Nursery and Health Centre, around the Sports Centre, and from the Nassau Street entrance into Trinity – through the Arts Block and to the end of Fellows’ Square, including outside the Berkeley library.

For a period of time, the union actively opposed the tobacco-free Trinity initiative, after a referendum in 2014 in which 53 per cent of voters decided against supporting a smoke-free campus. However, the union changed its mandate in 2015 to support the introduction of smoke-free zones in “identified problem areas on campus”.

A tobacco-free campus would prohibit smoking indoors and outdoors on college campuses. Over 1,000 colleges in America are tobacco-free. Both University College Dublin and NUI Galway have Tobacco-Free zones on campus.

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