For the health, comfort and wellbeing of all our students, staff and visitors, the University of Queensland has committed to becoming smoke-free from 1 July 2018. 

UQ is an internationally recognised leader in health research, education and training, and is committed to matching its best practice education and research in this area with best practice policy. 

Information about available support options to assist those wishing to quit smoking and to further promote health and wellbeing for all staff and students, is provided below.

Responses to a range of frequently asked questions are provided here, however if you have a question which is not addressed, please email   

Staff, students and visitors who choose to smoke off-campus should be mindful of the comfort of others and the risk of exposure to second-hand smoke. Smokers are encouraged to move away from entrances, particularly near childcare centres and protect our environment by disposing of cigarette butts appropriately.

1. When is the University becoming smoke-free?

The University is becoming smoke-free from 1 July 2018, across all UQ sites.  

2. Why are we waiting until 1 July 2018 to become smoke-free?

The decision to transition to smoke-free was approved by the University Senior Management Group mid-July 2017.  The policy commencement date of 1 July 2018 will allow an appropriate period of time for the promotion, communication and socialisation of the transition to smoke-free campuses.

This period will also provide an opportunity for staff and students to avail themselves of the support options offered to assist them with quitting smoking.

3. Why is the University becoming smoke-free?

As an internationally recognised leader in health research, education and training, we're committed to matching best practice education and research with best practice policy. Tobacco-related harm to health and wellbeing through direct or second-hand exposure is well established.

There is a growing body of evidence to show that smoke-free environments increase the rate of quitting and reduce the amount of people taking up smoking. This is part of a broader commitment by all Queensland universities to provide healthier smoke-free environments.

At UQ, we are committed to providing staff, students and visitors with a productive, vibrant, safe and healthy working and learning environment. The decision to become smoke-free further supports and promotes the health and wellbeing of the entire UQ community. 

We recognise that our staff, students and visitors have a personal choice to smoke, however we also recognise the right for staff and students who do not smoke to work and study in an environment free from tobacco smoke.

Additionally, we also have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace and to protect staff, students and visitors from as many avoidable health risks as possible.  This includes the health risks associated with exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking).

4. What is the definition of ‘smoking’?

Smoking is the inhalation and exhalation of the smoke of burning tobacco, herbs or drugs.

Smoking also refers to the use of electronic cigarettes or other devices. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, e-cigars, vapour pens, or a personal vapour) or any product where there is a hand-to-mouth action and results in the expulsion of a vapour.

5. Is second-hand smoke really harmful?

Medical evidence is irrefutable that second-hand smoke (passive smoke) causes serious diseases and harm to others, including non-smokers.  There are links to relevant research on a range of sites including, the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

6. Have other universities gone smoke-free?

Yes. The smoke-free initiative undertaken by UQ has already been implemented by many other Australian universities and many more are in the process of transitioning to smoke-free. 

7. Where does the smoke-free initiative apply?

Smoking will not be permitted in or on any UQ-controlled premises or land, including St Lucia, Herston, Gatton and Long Pocket sites, all research facilities (including Pinjarra Hills), carparks, ovals and all University leased premises.

8. Who is affected by the smoke-free initiative?

All staff, students, visitors, volunteers and contractors who come on to UQ campuses and UQ-controlled sites will need to adhere to the smoke-free policy. This also includes the general public walking through our campuses.

9. Where can I smoke on-campus?

Smoking is not permitted on UQ sites. This includes all UQ fleet vehicles and all other motor vehicles while on campus.

We strongly recommend that when smokers move off-site, they choose an area that is not remote, is safe and is well-lit at night.

Boundary Maps:

St Lucia



Long Pocket

Pinjarra Hills

10. What about UQ's residential colleges?

Although UQ will be smoke-free from 1 July 2018, UQ recognises the unique living arrangements of our residential college students. The new UQ OH&S policy being developed around smoking will not capture residential colleges as all colleges are independent of the university. The limited number of smoking points around residential colleges are for college residents' use only, because these students live at these colleges.  These college smoking areas will continue to be regulated by the respective colleges' smoking policies.

11. What support will be provided to staff and students who wish to stop smoking?

The University actively supports staff and students who want to stop smoking.  The University has a range of support options to assist staff and students who would like to stop smoking. For further information, and if you wish to take advantage of these programs, see our Support with Quitting web pages.

12. What happens if I continue to smoke?

Any staff member, student or visitor who smokes on a UQ campus or UQ-controlled site may be approached by staff, students or campus security and reminded about our smoke-free policy.

13. What happens if I refuse to stop smoking?

The success of this approach will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers. All students and staff share in the responsibility for helping UQ campuses to go smoke-free.

14. Who will be policing this initiative?

In creating a healthier University environment, UQ encourages all staff, students and visitors to be part of a positive culture change.  Transitioning to smoke-free sites requires respect for others – both non-smokers and smokers.

Staff, students, visitors and contractors smoking on campus can expect to be reminded of the smoke-free initiative by others and requested to either discontinue smoking or to move off campus if they wish to continue smoking.

An educative and supportive approach will be embraced by the university, with a view to providing information about the smoke-free policy and campus boundaries to those who continue to smoke on university grounds.

15. What should I do if I see someone smoking on campus?

We hope that respect for others will guide all of us during the transition towards smoke-free sites. Staff, students and visitors may play a role in UQ's smoke-free initiative by drawing attention to UQ's smoke-free policy if people continue to smoke.  However, 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.
  • Smile, introduce yourself and politely tell the person that the University is smoke-free.
  • Respectfully request the smoker to either put out the cigarette safely or move to an area 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 UQ Security.
  • If you find you have a regular issue at a particular location, contact P&F Security.

16. What about the rights of smokers?

The policy is about where people can smoke so that their smoke doesn’t cause discomfort and harm to others. Non-smokers have a right to breathe clean air that is not contaminated by carcinogens and other harmful substances in tobacco smoke.

Hand-in-hand with this, UQ encourages those who smoke to seriously consider the adverse health effects to themselves. There are a range of supports available if you choose to quit smoking.

17. How is the smoke-free UQ initiative being communicated?

Implementation of Smoke-free UQ is important and a variety of methods will be used to raise awareness, including:

  • Signage;
  • Smoke-free printed material such as banners, posters and postcards;
  • Social medial, bulletin items and emails to students and staff;
  • Pre-arrival information to new students and staff; and
  • Information via orientation and induction programs, and relevant university events.

Queensland Health resources

Are you ready to quit smoking? You don’t have to do it alone. Register for the Smoke-free UQ Quit program (UQ staff only).

University of Queensland resources

  • UQ Wellness website provides links to a variety of support options in the wider community, such as quit tracker apps (e.g. My QuitBuddy)
  • Presentation by Dr Coral Gartner (UQCCR) How to Stop Smoking
  • If you need support and or guidance in relation to a mental health concern, contact the Staff Support and Rehabilitation Advisor on 336 (51146)

Additional resources

Queensland Health resources

Are you ready to quit smoking?  You don’t have to do it alone.

  • Access to Quitline at 13QUIT (13 78 48).  This is a confidential, free service for people who want to quit smoking. 
  • The service will provide you with information, advice and assistance tailored to your particular needs. Trained counsellors are available 7am – 10pm, 7 days a week to offer support and encouragement.
  • Call from a land-line anywhere in Australia cost the price of a local call (calling from a mobile costs more).

University of Queensland resources

  • UQ Wellness website provides links to a variety of support options in the wider community, such as quit tracker apps (e.g. My QuitBuddy)
  • Presentation by Dr Coral Gartner (UQCCR) How to Stop Smoking
  • A range of wellbeing options are available through Student Services                                              
  • If you need support and or guidance in relation to a mental health concern, full details of student counselling services are provided at Student Services

Additional resources


What is the Smoking And Vaping in Educational Settings (SAVE) Project?

  • A number of Queensland universities are currently reviewing their policies concerning smoking and vaping (using e-cigarettes) on campus.
  • This research seeks to gain insight into your knowledge, attitudes, and practices with regards to smoking, vaping and smoke-free policies. Similar data is being collected at other universities in Australia and New Zealand. This information will help to inform planning and evaluation of policies and laws concerning smoking and vaping.
  • This study is being conducted by a team of researchers and other university staff and students at The University of Queensland, The University of Canterbury, Central Queensland University and James Cook University.


Survey outcomes will be provided here once the data has been analysed.