Cardiff Metropolitan plans to become Wales’ first smokefree university will be officially launched by the Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans, today (Wednesday 20th September).

Working in partnership with tobacco control charity ASH Wales Cymru, the university will ban smoking at all campuses, halls of residences and Student Unions by 2019. 

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Staff and students will be fully supported to quit smoking and tobacco products will be removed from Student Union shops and replaced with alternatives such as e-cigarettes and nicotine patches.

Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Freshers Fayre at the university’s Cyncoed campus marks the start of the two-year implementation plan which will set the standard for universities across Wales. 

Cardiff Metropolitan conducted surveys into attitudes towards making the grounds entirely smokefree and found staff had no objection to the plans and students said it would not have had a negative impact on their choice to attend.

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Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans, said: “This is a great result of partnership working by ASH Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University staff and students to actively promote and protect health and wellbeing of its community. This is a major step for Wales to creating a safer healthier smokefree environment for our young people.” 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of Cardiff Metropolitan, Professor Sushila Chang said: “Cardiff Met is delighted to be the first university in Wales to commit to smokefree campuses - it really is a hugely positive step that will allow all our students, staff and visitors to enjoy our outdoor spaces.

“We are committed to being a healthy university and are extremely proud to have been a Welsh Government Gold Corporate Health Standard holder since 2011.

“We very much look forward to working together with ASH Wales over the next two years. With their help and our on-site support we believe we can assist students and staff who wish to quit smoking and stay smoke free for life.”

Speaking at the event, ASH Wales’ Chief Executive, Suzanne Cass said: “With the number of smokers falling year on year it is important we create smokefree spaces that can be enjoyed by everyone. Cardiff Metropolitan’s plans are forward-thinking and are completely in line with emerging public opinion.  

“As with any project like this, support is imperative and it is warming to see the university’s staff have spoken so positively about having the opportunity to attend stop smoking sessions during work time.”

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Public Health Wales’ Consultant in Public Health, Ashley Gould, said: “About 8 in 10 long-term smokers start before they are 25, and 7 in 10 want to quit, but find it really difficult. A smokefree Cardiff Met will help reinforce that not smoking is the norm. If staff or students do smoke, the very best way to quit is with help from the NHS – try www.helpmequit.wales, text HMQ to 80818, or call 0800 085 2219.”

Cardiff Metropolitan University has two teaching campuses and an additional halls of residence site, all of which will see the ban fully implemented from the start of the academic year in September 2019.