Utskrift från Malmö universitets webbplats www.mah.se

New smoking regulations on university premises


WORK ENVIRONMENT. A new legislation on smoke-free outdoor environments entered into force on July 1, 2019. The new law, which prohibits smoking at entrances to public premises and in outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, applies to Malmö University’s buildings.

As a consequence of the ban, ashtrays near entrances at the University will be moved or removed. Signs will also be put up stating that smoking is prohibited at the entrances to our premises. This will all take place during the summer in consultation with the property owners.

“No one should be exposed to unwelcome smoke at our entrances. I want to urge everyone to take their environmental responsibility seriously, respect the designated smoke-free zones, and also avoid throwing cigarette butts on the ground, just like any other litter,” says Per Bjurnemark, Head of Facility Service.

How far away?

The Act does not stipulate how far away from the entrance a person needs to stand in order to smoke. In the interpretation of the new regulations, we should consider the purpose of the law — to increase access to public places for people who are sensitive to smoke in different ways, and to reduce social exposure to smoking. According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the smoking ban should apply within at least a few metres of the entrance so that it is possible to enter and exit the premises without being exposed to smoke.  

The effects of cigarette butts and smoke

Several of the University buildings have problems with smoke coming in from fresh air vents. Even though several of the entrances are already non-smoking, people do not always comply with the ban.

Cigarette butts account for the majority of litter in Malmö — around 63 per cent — according to Malmö Municipality. This is also the case at the University, where Facility Service collected 12 litres of cigarette butts after sweeping Orkanen’s entrances for just a month. The test was carried out to estimate the amount of cigarette butts littered, and it should also be taken into account that it is currently low season due to holidays.

Cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that decomposes into microplastics within a few years. The microplastics remain for almost a hundred years, with consequences for animals, people and the environment.

As of July 1, the following regulations apply:

  • Smoking tobacco is prohibited in outdoor service areas and at entrances to public premises.
  • The smoking ban also applies to products such as e-cigarettes and water pipes.
  • Smoking is also banned in playgrounds, sports facilities and outdoor areas connected to public transport, such as bus stops.
  • It is not possible to bypass the new smoking ban by setting up separate smoking areas within the new smoke-free environments.
  • Where smoking has previously been allowed in an area where it is now prohibited, the University must remove ashtrays, smoking areas and anything else related to smoking.
  • If someone smokes despite being told that smoking is prohibited, that person may be turned away from the premises.
  • The implementation of smoking bans at entrances (including outdoor spaces) are the responsibility of the person or people who own or lease the premises or the space inside the entrance. The municipality is responsible for the supervision of the smoke-free environments.

See Public Health Agency of Sweden's website for more information