The 100 smoke-free colleges or Universities, a target set by Ministry of Education, is two thirds completed, with 65 colleges already banning smoking on campus. The number could increase to 72 by the end of 2013.
The exhibition fair of smoke-free colleges held on November 20, 2012, was sponsored by Bureau of Health Promotion Department of Health and Ministry of Education to provide a safe and healthy learning and working environment. It highlighted a dog and pony show displaying the accomplished results of transforming into tobacco control culture through the power of training camps, advocacy role played by physician, and creative posters and film clips created by contest.
“With two thirds or 65 of the targeted 100 colleges committed to ‘smoke free campuses’, the job looked deceptively simple. It requires monumental effort and collaboration by every member of each university, students and faculty alike,” said Chun-Chuan Wang (王俊權), Director General of the Bureau of Physical Education at the Ministry of Education. “In contrast to smaller schools, larger size schools require progressive stepwise approach, by relocating designated outdoor smoking areas to remote areas one by one before making the entire campus smoke-free.”
Wang pointed out, “One difficulty encountered by some schools is the complex nature of student body. For instance, students enrolled in the evening sessions consisted mainly of the working class. Being in the lower socioeconomic class, they had a longer history of smoking dependence, a habit much more difficult to get rid of.
The Ministry of Education found smoking rate higher in vocational or technical colleges than in general universities. “Smoking habit of most vocational or technical college students developed in high school before entering colleges. This is why we have focused our efforts on their high school years, putting emphasis on not to start smoking in the first place.” said Wang.