Until the mid-nineteen eighties smoking around the BCIT campus was normal. The clean air policy was implemented, to some controversy, in September of 1986 and then delayed until the new year to allow staff and students time to get used to the idea or to quit smoking.
In the beginning smoking was fairly controlled at BCIT. The BCIT Student Information Brochure from 1964/65 included a section on smoking.
During the rainy months todays’ smokers, however, might have enjoyed being permitted to smoke in the hallways during class breaks. While by today’s standards the smoking policy was quite permissive some might find the section of student behaviour and dress very restrictive.
When the school first opened men were required to wear shirt and tie. I especially like the afterthought comments for the obviously not very well represented female students; “Women should be attired appropriately in accordance with the regulations for men. Slacks or shorts are not appropriate attire for women students.” (p. 15)
By the 1970s it appears that it was the norm to smoke (and eat) during lectures. That smoking and eating were prohibited in classrooms in the mid-1960s was a huge shock to students in 1978. A Link article from September 13, 1978 scoffs at the idea of not being able to smoke in the classroom. The writer even offers advice on constructing an astray from the foil liner of cigarette packages.
Restrictions on smoking began to slowly creep in. In 1981 the pub created a non-smoking area.
The new Student Association Campus centre (SE16) opened in 1983 with a no smoking policy. A short quote from the article above demonstrates an open attitude toward the idea that smoking is not appropriate everywhere: “ I know that the campus centre was built for students, all students, however smoking is already permitted in most areas of the SAC (except for a small section in Growlies [the pub])…so if students do get the urge to ‘light up’ it is only a short distance to the nearest smoking area.”
BCIT’s Clean Air Policy was jump-started in January of 1985 after a petition from 30 staff members requested their office area be designated non-smoking. Shortly after their request, Dr. Barbara Copping, BCIT Medical Services Director asked the Health and Safety Committee to initiate an Institute smoking policy. After a year of gathering health and legal information the BCIT Smoking Policy Committee met. The committee consisted of smokers, nonsmokers, ex-smokers, students, teaching and support staff, managers and Health and Safety Committee members. The BCIT Smoking Policy Committee conducted a survey of staff and students to gauge attitudes towards smoking in shared spaces at BCIT. The results showed students (78%) and staff (90%) in favour of a formal policy restricting smoking at BCIT. The list of shared spaces that the majority of students thought should have no restrictions on smoking or designated areas included: entrances/foyers, student lounges, the cafeteria, the pub, and recreational areas. Of staff respondents over half thought it reasonable to have no restrictions or designated smoking and non-smoking area of staff lounges, cafeterias, and the staff dining room (staff were not surveyed about the pub).
The Clean Air Policy was implemented January 1, 1987. It has since been revised several times. If you are interested in the current smoking policy at BCIT you can find it here BCIT Policy no. 7501.