Work Health and Safety Smoke-free Campus Guide for managers and supervisors

Smoke-free Campus: Guide for managers and supervisors

Smoke-free from 1 July 2018

Along with all other public Queensland Universities, JCU is now a Smoke-free Campus.  Smoking is no longer permitted anywhere on JCU property.

JCU Smoke-free Campus Policy extends to all institute property, including:

  • All campuses, research stations and other JCU facilities including Student Accommodation
  • All grounds, ovals, parks, car parks, and undercover areas
  • In all JCU owned / leased vehicles, including boats.

Staff, students and visitors will need to relocate to an area off campus if they wish to smoke. Campus boundary maps for the Townsville (PDF, 2142 KB) and Cairns (PDF, 2111 KB) campuses indicate the boundaries beyond which staff, students, contractors and visitors must go if they want to smoke. We recommend that when smokers move off campus, they choose an area that is not remote, is safe and is well-lit at night.

Designated smoking areas remain in place at the Townsville Student Accommodation until 1 January 2019. These designated smoking areas are only to be used by students who reside on campus.

By going smoke-free, JCU is supporting the health of students, staff and all other persons on JCU premises.  There is clear evidence to show that smoke-free environments support smokers to quit and reduce the number of people taking up smoking. This is part of a broader commitment by all Queensland universities to provide healthier smoke-free environments.

JCU has a legal responsibility to provide a safe work and study environment and protect from the serious health risks associated with exposure to second-hand smoke.

JCU recognises that each individual has a personal choice to smoke, but also recognises the right of those who do not smoke to work and study in an environment free from second-hand smoke.

Quitting smoking isn't easy, but with the right tools and support, quitting smoking is possible and can be one of the most life-changing decisions a person can make.

The health of staff and students is important to JCU. Staff and students who smoke and would like to stop smoking can receive support and encouragement on their journey to becoming smoke-free. Free, confidential support programs are available for staff and students.

Communicating JCU's Smoke-free Campus Policy is important and a variety of methods will be used to raise awareness within the University community, including:

  • Campus signage
  • Smoke-free promotional materials, such as posters
  • Social media campaigns, bulletin items, signature blocks and emails to students and staff
  • Pre-arrival information for new students and staff, as well as information via orientation and induction programs, and relevant university events
  • Communication and contract updates for Controlled Entities, Tenants and Contractors as well as neighbouring properties.

Any individual who is smoking on JCU campuses may be approached by staff, students or campus security and reminded about our Smoke-free Campus Policy. As a manager or supervisor you can assist greatly in implementing the policy and encouraging compliance by:

  • Ensuring all staff are aware of the Smoke-free Campus Policy by discussing the policy at an appropriate opportunity (i.e. team meeting)
  • Discussing the requirement to go off campus to smoke, and when doing so to consider neighbouring properties, litter and personal safety
  • Ensuring that the smoke-free campus status is raised with potential new staff members in interviews
  • Ensuring staff are aware of the support available to assist them to quit smoking
  • If you are a teaching staff member you can remind students at the first lecture of term.

Managers and teaching staff can download a series of Smoke-free Campuses PowerPoint slides (PPT, 230 KB) that can be adapted to suit.

In creating a healthier environment, JCU encourages everyone to be part of a positive culture change, and to have respectful conversations with regard to the Smoke-free Campus Policy to improve the overall quality of life for everyone.

We believe implementing the Smoke-free Campus Policy is everyone's responsibility.

Transitioning to a smoke-free campus requires respect for others – both non-smokers and smokers. You are encouraged to respectfully and politely remind smokers that they must go off-campus if they wish to smoke. This can be a difficult conversation to have. If you're unsure how to have the conversation with someone smoking, you can refer to the signs on campus, or use the following tips to guide you:

  • Always remember that smoking is an addiction; sometimes smoking is associated with stress or an addiction to nicotine, so it's important to be mindful of this when explaining the policy
  • Always assume the person does not know the change to being a smoke-free campus
  • Smile, introduce yourself and politely tell the person that JCU is now smoke-free
  • Respectfully request the smoker to stop smoking or move off campus if they wish to keep smoking
  • If the person complies, remember to thank them. If the person becomes angry or confrontational, excuse yourself and report the incident to the Security office.

If you have a regular issue with smoking at a particular location, contact

The aim of the Smoke-free Campus Policy is to:

  • Raise awareness of the harmful effects of second-hand smoke
  • Support smokers to quit smoking, and
  • Discourage people from starting to smoke.

Where an individual is found to be smoking on campus, they will be informed of the Smoke-free Campus Policy, politely asked to cease smoking, and be advised of the requirement to comply with the policy.

JCU encourages Staff, Students, members of JCU Council, Affiliates, Visitors, Tenants, Controlled Entities, Volunteers and Contractors to refrain from smoking on campus. University policy will be updated to prohibit smoking on campus, and failure to comply with policy may result in disciplinary action for staff and students or a request to leave the campus for other persons as listed above.

If you find that a staff member is spending too much time away from their work, over and above their designated breaks, a proactive and supportive approach that encourages a change in behaviour is the first step. This can avoid matters potentially escalating to disciplinary action.

Excessive breaks from work should be treated the same, whether the staff member is going for a smoke, coffee, or chatting to colleagues. An informal discussion with the individual regarding the amount of time being taken away from their work, and providing guidance on what is expected, and the potential consequences of continuing the behaviour, can resolve the matter and avoid time consuming formal processes.

It is also important to remind the staff member of the support available to them to quit smoking.

The following checklist offers a guide to approaching staff regarding excessive smoking breaks. Whilst it is the individual's choice to smoke, they are required to manage this appropriately within their allocated breaks, in accordance with JCU policy, so it does not impact on their work.

In the situation where a staff member continues to take excessive breaks to smoke, consult your supervisor to ascertain the next steps to guide your actions, with additional support from your local Human Resources representatives if required.

Familiarise yourself Read the relevant Smoke-free Campus Policy and Human Resource policies relating to designated breaks.
Address the issue promptly Make a time to speak with the staff member at the earliest opportunity to discuss the issue. The aim is to address the issue at the local level early on to avoid escalation of disciplinary action and offer support that will encourage behaviour change.
Listen actively Encourage open discussion that gives the staff member the opportunity to provide an explanation for their behaviour. The aim here is to support a change of behaviour, so it is important to listen with empathy. However, it needs to be reinforced that smoking on campus is not permitted and they will need to move off campus within their designated breaks to smoke.
Explain the potential consequences Advise the staff member that continuing behaviour could be considered a breach of University policy and if the behaviour continues, disciplinary action under the Staff Code of Conduct could be considered.
Offer appropriate support Ensure the individual understands where they are permitted to smoke (i.e. nearby areas off campus). Advise the staff member about the options for support available to manage or stop smoking.
Follow up Schedule a follow-up meeting to check that the matter is resolved, and take further action if required.

Further information

For further information, see Smoke-free campus. Feedback and enquiries can be forwarded by email to