Non-smoking is the norm

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam aims to create a climate where non-smoking is the norm, which is why its campus is completely smoke free as of 31 May 2020. This will ensure a more pleasant and healthier work and study environment for students and staff and will help pave the way towards a smoke-free generation. Part of the campus, the Zuidas Botanical gardens and the 0|2 Lab and ACTA buildings will join Amsterdam UMC in becoming the first smoke-free zones on 1 October 2019 (see map). 

Social responsibility

With our smoke-free campus, we wish to set an example for our surroundings. The smoke-free campus policy of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is consistent with its commitment to society and the responsibility it feels for its students and the community. It also addresses the university’s profile theme ‘Human Health & Life Sciences’ and ties in with the ‘three Ps’ of sustainable development, namely People, Planet & Prosperity. In fact, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam just recently signed the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, which include the goal ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VU AMSTERDAM’S SMOKE-FREE CAMPUS

When does the VU Campus officially become smoke-free?
The VU Campus will be completely smoke-free from 31 May 2020. From then on, you will no longer be permitted to smoke anywhere on campus. The grounds around the O|2 Lab building, ACTA and the Zuidas Botanical Garden have been smoke-free since October 2019.

Why is VU Amsterdam taking this step ahead of the nationwide date of 1 August?
VU Amsterdam’s smoke-free campus policy is consistent with our commitment to society and the responsibility we have towards our students and the university community as a whole. It also embodies the university’s themes of Human Health and Life Sciences, and ties in with the ‘three Ps’ of our vision for sustainability: People, Planet & Prosperity. VU Amsterdam recently signed the Sustainable Development goals of the United Nations, which include the goal ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages’. Research has shown that young people are more likely to start smoking if they see others smoking.

Where does the smoking ban apply?
The ban applies to the entire VU Campus, the grounds around the O|2 Lab building, ACTA and the Zuidas Botanical Garden, as well as the grounds around Amsterdam UMC (VUmc location). For an overview of the entire smoke-free zone, see the map.

How does this approach reflect national policy?
A legislative process is under way to make it a legal requirement for schools and universities to provide smoke-free education sites by 1 August 2020.

Will I still be able to smoke an e-cigarette or another product without tobacco?
No, the ban also applies to e-cigarettes and other non-tobacco smoking products.Why can’t VU Amsterdam create a smoking area somewhere out of sight?Creating a smoking area would go against VU Amsterdam’s ambition to create a healthy campus. See also (link to Social Responsibility).This legislation is a burden on the smoker. Are staff and students at VU Amsterdam being offered anything to help them?No, VU Amsterdam will not be offering courses to help its students or staff quit smoking. However, you can contact your health insurer about the options available. From 2020, health insurers will no longer be allowed to charge any excess for primary care stop-smoking programmes. These will be reimbursed in full under basic health insurance if they are run by contracted care providers. People who participate in such a programme significantly improve their chances of giving up smoking. Ask your health insurer about what’s on offer – often you are entitled to support to help you stop smoking on an annual basis. For guidance on how to quit smoking, you can contact your GP.

Reimbursement from your health insurer only applies to proven means and methods, such as:

  • Personal coaching
  • Group training courses
  • Prescribed medication
  • Prescribed nicotine substitutes
I can’t stop smoking. I've already tried more than once. What now?
It’s not easy to stop smoking. On average, smokers need four to six attempts to stop for good. Find out about the various ways to quit smoking. Your health insurer can guide you through the options available.

Does the smoking ban also apply to the terrace of The Basket and other restaurants and food outlets on the VU Campus?
Yes, the ban applies to all businesses located on the grounds of the VU Campus.

Why can’t the university let me decide for myself whether I want to smoke?
Seeing other people smoking often makes people want to smoke. Research also shows that young people are more likely to start smoking if they see others smoking. Of course it is up to you to decide whether you want to smoke or not. It’s just that now it will no longer be permitted on the smoke-free VU Campus. We hope that this measure will give you an extra incentive to improve your health. See also question one.

How will the ban be enforced?
Campus coaches or security officers patrolling the grounds will inform people and make sure they are aware of the new smoking policy. They will also ask anyone smoking on campus to put out their cigarette. Everyone who works or studies on campus can assist them in this. We have a joint responsibility to create a healthy, smoke-free campus.

Any questions?
Please let us know by sending an email to [email protected].