College provosts and Heads of Departments have been given the “legal responsibility” of policing the smoking ban by the University, despite receiving no specific guidelines on how to deal with those that break the law and being warned that if they fail to do so adequately, they will be “exposed to possible legal proceedings”.
The policy, released last week, prohibits smoking in all University premises and will come into practice on July 1, the same day that smoking in smoke-free areas is made illegal across England.
The ‘Procedure’ section of the policy states: “The responsibility for implementing this Policy will lie with Heads of Departments and College Provosts.” However, there is no specific advice for how to deal with those that are caught smoking inside.
Commercial Services has also received no instruction from the University for how bar staff is college bars are to proceed when someone is found breaking the ban.
A spokesman for the University confirmed that no specific guidelines would be given to Heads of Departments and College Provosts, saying, “Guidance and advice is available from the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students and Health and Safety, if required.
“If smoking is taking place in a public area, the senior member of staff has a legal responsibility to deal with it effectively. That does not necessarily mean that the police will be automatically involved, for instance if someone inadvertently lights up and extinguishes the cigarette immediately when warned.”
The policy states: “If members of the community or their guests do not observe the policy then Heads of Departments, College Provosts and the University of York may be exposed to possible legal proceedings.”
Smoking will be permitted in the University grounds, but no one will be able to smoke from windows, on roofs or in doorways. Smoking is also not permitted within two metres of any University building.
YUSU President Rich Croker, who sat on the working group that helped formulate the policy, welcomed the measures. He said, “It ensures the University conform to the national requirements whilst ensuring a clear message is presented to staff and students alike. Considerations were taken in regards to some aspects such as making the campus a smoke-free zone or to build extensions to allow people to smoke near bars, but they were rejected for legitimate reasons which we supported.”
In 2004, Leeds University Union brought in a four-week trial smoking ban in its bars, which was abandoned after sales dropped by over £26,000 in 13 days. Despite this, John Greenwood, head of Commercial Services (which manages the bars), has welcomed the ban as beneficiary for the health of his staff.
He said he will “wait and see” as to whether it will affect their profitability, but added that the recent examples of a smoking ban in Scotland, Ireland and New York had not given him any great cause for worry.
Licensed premises in York have begun to bring in measures for the smoking ban amidst worries the nightlife trade in the city may drop. To hide unsavoury smells such as stale beer and sweat that the smoke had previously covered, Nexus and BPM are set to use industrial air fresheners to pump smells such as strawberry and lemon meringue pie through the bar areas. Toffs is also set to start work on a smoking area, although no concrete details have yet been released.