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Unitec campuses to go smokefree in 2013

Unitec campuses to go smokefree in 2013

According to Quitline, up to 5,000 New Zealanders die from smoking related illness each year, while a packet-a-day smoker spends around $4,500 a year.

With this in mind, and after a full consultation process involving staff, students and other organisations located on its campuses, Auckland's Unitec Institute of Technology is set to go smokefree next year.

The institute's Smokefree/Auahi Kore Policy will come into effect on World Smokefree Day, or Thursday 31 May in 2013. From this date Unitec will join a number of its peers in the tertiary education sector with smokefree campuses.

The policy supports the wellbeing of all people connected to or visiting any of Unitec's three campuses located in Mt Albert, Henderson (Waitakere campus), and Albany (Northern campus).

The policy will apply to all staff, students, and visitors to each of its three campuses, and cover all carparks and vehicles while on Unitec grounds.

A number of support measures will be put in place to help ease the transition toward becoming an 100% smokefree organisation.

"We are committed to providing a healthy working and learning environment for our students, our staff, and communities," says Chief Executive Rick Ede.

"Smoking is a major cause of sickness and death, and we hope our decision to go smokefree might motivate our Unitec community to consider a healthier lifestyle, free of smoking.

"We know that managing or quitting smoking can be a real challenge, so we'll make a range of support options available to those who may choose it."

These support options will include:

'Quit smoking' workshops for staff and students who wish to quit smoking
Access to subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) for those who want help to manage their addiction
Promotion of the free Quitline service, available 24-hours a day

Unitec's Health, Safety and Environment team will also train additional staff and students to support its 'quit smoking' and NRT education programme, which will be rolled out from early next year.


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