Tygerberg Medical Campus goes smoke and tobacco free

Tygerberg Medical Campus has been declared a smoke- and tobacco-free campus.

Smoking or the use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes and hookah pipes, will be prohibited on campus from 1 January 2019.

This is in line with Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’s (FMHS) mission to advance health and equality.

Prof. Jimmy Volmink, FMHS dean, says by making the campus a smoke- and tobacco-free space, they are creating a healthy and safe environment for everyone.

Prof. Nico Gey van Pittius, vice-dean of research and member of the FHMS Tobacco-Free Campus Committee, says the use of and exposure to tobacco is a public health concern.

“It is a risk factor for various types of cancer, heart disease, respiratory infections and strokes. It increases medical costs, decreases productivity, and on average smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers,” says Gey van Pittius.

According to Gey van Pittius, the faculty opted not to allocate any designated smoking areas on the campus grounds.

“Research shows that allowing people to smoke in certain areas undermines tobacco-free policies, and campuses with full smoke-free policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than those with designated smoking areas,” he says.

“The faculty will allocate the money it would have spent on the construction of smoking shelters to assist staff members and students who want to quit smoking.”

He says it is important that individuals have access to support to help them comply with the regulations.

“The faculty will provide smoking cessation support, including medication and nicotine-replacement therapy, materials and counselling through Campus Health Services to staff members or students who would like to quit smoking, or need help controlling their cravings. “By making the Tygerberg campus a smoke- and tobacco-free campus we are being and becoming the change agents in society and are standing for what we believe is right.”