The American University of Dubai (AUD) is among a growing number of university campuses that have become smoke-free.
From today AUD will implement its Smoke-Free Campus Policy, which bans smoking in non-designated places.
Last year the American University of Sharjah (AUS) declared its campus a smoke-free zone and smokers are restricted to a smoking room in the student centre.
Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village strictly prohibit smoking on their premises and also within 25 feet (7.6 metres) of the entrance to all buildings.
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Institutions like Dubai Women's College and Abu Dhabi Women's College, which is part of the Higher Colleges of Technology, take a zero-tolerance stance and no smoking is allowed on campus or on its grounds.
At AUD there are three smoking areas equipped with benches and ashtrays. Students who violate the smoke-free policy will be subject to a three-point warning system that could range from university ID card confiscation to registration being put on hold and eventually a warning and probation.
Employees caught in breach of the policy will receive warnings from AUD's human resources department after the first two infractions with the third adversely affecting their annual performance evaluation.
The new rules are meant to promote well-being and reduce the number of smokers on campus, support those who wish to stop smoking, discourage freshmen from starting the habit, and raise awareness on the dangers of smoking. Leaflets, flyers and posters have been distributed around campus.
Ahead of the policy implementation AUD's health centre, in association with the American Hospital in Dubai, recently held a Stop Smoking Campus.
The university community was taught about the associated risks of an unhealthy lifestyle and how to live a healthy lifestyle. Students, faculty and staff members underwent Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) which gauge the function of the lungs, and pulse oximetry clinical tests, which determine the oxygen saturation present in the blood.
"The smoking campaign is a means to promote smoking cessation," said Nelly Halabi, AUD Health Centre Director.
"This campaign brings awareness and education to young people who are at greater risk of lung disease.
"We hope young people start making a conscientious decision to live a healthy life."
However, while universities are gearing up their anti-smoking efforts, student smokers are not happy with the new measures.
AUS student Ala'a Tamimi says smokers are miserable being stuck in a small smoke-filled room. AUS banned smoking on campus in February last year.
"The smokers are grouped together in one tiny room and they say it's even worse for their health," says Ala'a who is a non-smoker.
"To an extent this has reduced smoking on campus. A lot of students smoke because of peer pressure, but if they are stuck in one room they end up not doing it because people don't notice you anymore," she said.