Victorian University Tobacco-Free working group wins 2014 VicHealth award

February 15 / 151

From left to right: Professor Jane den Hollander, Deakin University, Professor David Battersby, Federation University Australia, Professor John Dewar, La Trobe University, Professor Glyn Davis, the University of Melbourne, Mr Peter Marshall representing Professor Ed Byrne, Monash University, Professor Margaret Gardner, RMIT University, Professor Linda Kristjanson, Swinburne University of Technology and Professor Peter Dawkins, Victoria University of Technology.
From left to right: Professor Jane den Hollander, Deakin University, Professor David Battersby, Federation University Australia, Professor John Dewar, La Trobe University, Professor Glyn Davis, the University of Melbourne, Mr Peter Marshall representing Professor Ed Byrne, Monash University, Professor Margaret Gardner, RMIT University, Professor Linda Kristjanson, Swinburne University of Technology and Professor Peter Dawkins, Victoria University of Technology.

The Victorian University Tobacco-Free working group – which includes the University of Melbourne– has been recognised in the 2014 Victorian Health Promotion Foundation awards.

Winning the ‘preventing tobacco use’ category, the working group – which includes representatives from all nine major Victorian universities – aims for smoke-free universities across the state in a strategy to tackle tobacco-related disease.
 
“This landmark initiative, one of collaboration, of sharing approaches, sends a united message to the community that universities are taking a stand on this very important issue’” said Professor Richard James, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
 
In congratulating the working group, the Hon Bruce Atkinson MLC recognised the important role university campuses have to play, with their “high number of students, staff and visitors”.
 
The working group’s strategy involves preventing exposure to smoke, promoting smoking cessation, and importantly, preventing the initiation of smoking, particularly critical in a university environment where most students are at an age research has shown to be particularly vulnerable.
 
At Melbourne, designated smoking areas have popped up around the campuses, with students, staff and visitors restricting their smoking to these areas.
 
It is part of a staged approach Professor James feels respects all parties, acknowledging that giving up smoking is not easy. The University will transition to being completely smoke-free within the next twelve months, over which time all designated smoking areas will gradually be removed.

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