Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the move was a natural progression of the University’s commitment to healthy campuses.
“The university is committed to helping improve the health and well-being of our staff and students,” he said.
“This is a step towards further encouraging our community to take action against the harmful effects of smoking. It also aims to minimize the harmful impact of second hand smoke to others across the campus.”
The move will include support programs for those seeking to quit smoking and aims to further promote health and well-being for all staff, students and visitors to the university.
Public health expert at the University Professor Rob Moodie said the university was an internationally recognised leader in health research, education and training, and policy and practice, and should match its best practice education and research with best practice policy.
“Over 40% of deaths from tobacco are due to cancer. Young people - who comprise much of the undergraduate population - who are exposed to tobacco smoke carry the health harms of involuntary smoke much longer,” he said.
“The University’s younger students are also most susceptible to developing potentially harmful smoking habits.”
The change means smoking on University grounds is prohibited and no campus businesses will be able to sell cigarettes.
This step is in keeping with moves by the national tertiary education sector to go tobacco-free with the support of QUIT and VicHealth. It is also in line with discussions with partners across the Parkville precinct to establish a tobacco free precinct.
The University will phase out smoking across its campuses from today with a view to requiring full compliance from the beginning of 2015.