Monash University is one of only six workplaces across Victoria that has been recognised within the Achievement Program for achieving benchmarks in the areas of Physical Activity, Mental Health, Alcohol and Smoking. Monash is to be congratulated as this is a huge accomplishment, considering the complexities of the organisation due to its size and number of locations.
Monash University achieved recognition for the Smoking health priority area in March 2017 after the entire university became smokefree.
To achieve a smoke-free environment, Monash University followed best practice and established a Smoke-Free Working Group with representation from key stakeholder groups, management, staff and student groups. Professor Ian Davis, Head of the Eastern Clinical School at Monash and member of the Monash Smoke-Free Working Group, said “The smoke-free initiative is part of the University’s commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of its staff and students. These changes reflect Monash University’s high academic profile in generating evidence, and acting on evidence and improving population health.”
A staged implementation approach over a two year period was employed to ensure the success and sustainability of the initiative. Stage one in 2014 saw the introduction of designated smoking areas moving to stage two in 2016 with a total ban on smoking.
Monash used a comprehensive consultation and communications strategy, focused on consultation with staff, students, vendors, contractors and visitors. Information was distributed via an extensive range of written and electronic communication channels such as websites, newsletters, social media, apps, job advertisements, contracts, induction programs, posters, signage, emails to key personnel, and OHS and staff meetings.
The message clearly announced the University to be smokefree and providing support for those staff and students wishing to quit, through the availability of a range of resources such as counselling, free QUIT programs and other tools.
Staff and students continue to use the Quit program and other support services, and it seems having a smokefree environment is affecting change. “Staff and students continue to be extremely supportive of the smokefree initiative and acknowledge that it’s a continuing but worthwhile journey” said Anne Ohlmus, Wellbeing Co-ordinator at Monash University.
The ban on smoking is closely monitored by using campus wide patrols which has shown a high level of compliance by the University community.
Monash University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy work and study environment. The University endeavours to educate, raise awareness and facilitate the adoption of healthy lifestyles through its initiatives and programs in the areas of physical activity, mental health, and tobacco and alcohol control. It is also actively working to improve the healthy food choices available on campus through its retail, vending and catering, with a view to achieving the Healthy Eating benchmarks.
“Monash should be proud that it is enhancing the health and wellbeing of its staff and students and the general Monash community, through the introduction of the smoke-free campuses” said Dr Vicki Ashton, Chief Medical Officer at Monash.