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The Smoking Ban and Other Resources to Help You Quit

The signs posted in front of Dawson's entrance on Rue Maisonneuve

by Eva Rizk

Students who have been smoking on campus in the past, have been subject to adopting nicotine addictions when entering their college years. As of recent, post-secondary schools around Montreal have been mandated by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services to adopt policies to create smoke-free campuses. As of July 1st, Dawson’s new smoke-free policy had been fully put in place and students and faculty who regularly smoked, on campus, had to find new areas to smoke on the streets of Montreal.

As the legalization of cannabis was approaching; there is no coincidence these bans were enacted before October 17th. For several years, Dawson has been promoting awareness of nicotine and drug addiction and offers students many services to help them through the process of quitting. “It is totally up to [students who use nicotine products and drugs] to decide to what degree this is disturbing their life and […] if they’re being honest with themselves then they’ll be able to make [the decision to get help]” says Daniel Boyer, coordinator of student services and athletics. He was part of the committee who drafted the policy, along with representatives from plant & facilities, health services, the academic administration, communications, human resources, and Anthony Williams, former chairperson of the Dawson Student Union. Together the committee went through the different options they had on integrating the ban.

Boyer says there haven’t been any complaints about the ban since students who do smoke are used to being pushed out of certain areas quite regularly these days. He’s proud of the student body who’ve adapted to the new policy, especially towards those who have been on campus for a few years – since students who reach Cegep directly from high school are used to those restrictions. Students who are caught disobeying the new rules are brought to Boyer’s office. They receive a verbal warning and are reminded of the policy. He states he has never been close to giving a second warning to students as the vast majority have been extremely cooperative with adjusting to the new rules and very rarely does he receive students in his office who haven’t been obeying them.

The Nico-Bar, a pop-up bar that tours schools around Quebec, paid a visit to the college on October 4th. They serve non-alcoholic drinks while conversing with students the long-term effects of smoking by using technology that shows the effects smoking will have on your skin in the future. Throughout the semesters, students have access to drug and alcohol awareness days, visits from alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous, the police department and Dawson’s health services, to help them if they are thinking of ending their addictions or simply curious of the effects these products can have on their mind and body.

Smoking, now used as a general term for smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes and marijuana, is common among students of Montreal, more so when they enter their college years, as more people tend to experiment during that time of their life. Jordan, a student at Dawson, triggered his addiction when he started CEGEP. He describes his smoking habit as a self-deprecating comedy but also as a sad reality. Now that the ban is in place, he says the security guards don’t strongly enforce the new rules but tell him and the others smoking outside, to go on the sidewalk. When it comes to resources offered by the school to help his addiction, Jordan says the only one he knows of is the guidance counsellor; but in his opinion, the school should stop interfering with his problems because it’s his personal business. He says he’s avoided the assemblies and awareness days on addictions because he doesn’t want to address his problems in front of a group of strangers, “It’s not personal enough, I don’t think an addiction can be fought with a convention.”

In all, does the school need to do a better job of presenting their resources for smokers? Is there something that can be done to prevent experimenting with smoking in college? Since the ban has only recently been in place, it is still to be determined if the government will achieve its goal to prevent smoking habits among students.



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