GM Dawson high school goes smoke-free

  • Jan. 9, 2006 1:00 p.m.

G.M. Dawson high school in Masset is now a no-smoking zone.
Principal Angus Wilson said the school became smoke free on Jan. 3, as students returned to school after the Christmas break.
“So far, so good,” Mr. Wilson said this week. “Everyone’s been fine with it.”
In the past, students and staff at GMD have smoked in separate “smoke pits” on the school grounds, he said. But last year, a group of grade 12 students studying the effects of smoking in their Career and Personal Planning class asked why the school wasn’t truly smoke-free, Mr. Wilson said.
That led to a poll of students and discussions of the issue with parents and staff. Mr. Wilson said the majority of students were in favour of banning smoking on school property. Parents also supported the idea, he said.
Mr. Wilson said it appears that fewer high school students are smoking, a trend which is contributing to the success of the initiative.
At Queen Charlotte Secondary, principal Elizabeth Condrotte said smoking on school grounds has been banned as long as she can remember. Students do go to various locations off-campus to smoke, but “the school does not condone smoking in any way,” she said.
Ms Condrotte said she doesn’t have any data on the number of students who smoke, but she agreed with Mr. Wilson’s observation that the habit is becoming less popular.
“I think more kids are aware of the dangers, the expense and the corporate manipulation,” she said. Also, many students at QCSS are serious athletes who naturally do not want to take up smoking, she said.