Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society report shows 65 university and college campuses in Canada are 100% smoke-free


A new national report released today by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) finds there are now 65 university and college campuses in Canada that are 100% smoke-free, with bans on smoking both indoors and outdoors.

In 2017, only 30 campuses were 100% smoke-free and 10 years prior, in 2007, only 4 were 100% smoke-free.

“The national trend is encouraging and accelerating,” says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. “Campuses that are 100% smoke-free not only provide protection from second-hand smoke but also provide increased motivation to quit altogether. We urge all universities and colleges to adopt a comprehensive 100% smoke-free policy.”

Dalhousie University (Halifax) in 2003 was the first institution to make its campus 100% smoke-free. Institutions that have adopted smoke-free campuses include University of Regina, McMaster University (Hamilton), Langara College (Vancouver) and George Brown College (Toronto). In Quebec, 31 CEGEPS/colleges have 100% smoke-free campuses.

“Many institutions are showing tremendous leadership but there is still enormous work to do,” adds Cunningham, noting there are about 260 universities and colleges in Canada.

Many more institutions are in the process of developing strengthened policies particularly with the imminent legalization of cannabis on October 17, 2018. Institutions are considering how to respond, especially with many students younger than the cannabis minimum age.

The report, University and College 100% Smoke-Free Campuses in Canada: National Status Report, provides a rationale for adopting policies, lists the institutions that are 100% smoke-free, provides a link to the policies and identifies whether the policies also apply to cannabis, any tobacco use, water pipe smoking and/or e-cigarettes.

Of the 63 universities and colleges that are 100% smoke-free on campus, 44 have policies that also apply to cannabis, 45 have policies that apply to any tobacco use, 43 have policies that apply to water pipe (hookah) smoking and 53 have policies that apply to e-cigarettes.

In the US, momentum is even more advanced than in Canada with more than 2,000 campus sites that are 100% smoke-free.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing more than 45,000 Canadians annually. It is responsible for about 30% of all cancer deaths and for $6.5 billion in annual health care costs.

Canada-wide, smokers can call the number on cigarette packages 1-866-366-3667 to receive proven and personalized support to quit smoking. The Canadian Cancer Society operates the quitline in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, PEI and the Yukon through Smokers’ Helpline and the ligne j’ARRÊTE in Quebec.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Rob Cunningham

Senior Policy Analyst

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: (613) 565-2522 ext 4981