Selkirk College and the Cultures of Smoking

Recently Released Report Focuses on Smoking in Post-Secondary Context


A new report released by the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research sheds some important light on how students at Selkirk College view smoking.

 The 24-page document is titled Smoking in the Post-Secondary Context: A Report for The Cultures of Smoking Project and used five British Columbia schools as an important part of its research. Selkirk College was joined by Thompson Rivers University, UNBC, UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanangan as the post-secondaries that delved deeper into the issue.

“When it comes to smoking and young people, the literature tends to focus on the long-term health risks of smoking, with less attention paid to better understanding the experiences of those who smoke and the cultures of smoking,” the report states.

Through the leadership of Leslie Comrie, Selkirk College’s Healthy Campus Advisor, the report includes important feedback from students on our campuses.

“The process was really incredible,” Comrie says. “It was excellent at involving the students in real dialogue instead of just telling them what to do. At the end of the process it chooses a direction that is more inclusive and allows people to make their own choices.”

Report Includes Action Plan

The project examined the cultures of smoking and issues related to smoking policy with the five institutions between April 2018 and June 2019. It was informed by a critical literature review that examined the experiences and roles of smoking in the lives of smokers, including the ritual, social identity and self-management functions of smoking.

“Smoking holds a wide variety of personal and social functions for young people, which give rise to some major motivations to smoke,” reads the report. “Among these functions are the ritual function of smoking, the social identification aspect of smoking and the use of smoking in self-management.”

Future directions involved for Selkirk College includes:

  • Seeking more opportunities to use dialogue to facilitate conversations at the college on topics where there are diverse and conflicting viewpoints.
  • Seeking more opportunities to increase student awareness and understanding of the connection between health and inclusion.
  • Pursuing the development of designated smoking areas on our campuses knowing that there is a general level of support for their development.
  • Building awareness and support of the wider college community for the development of designated smoking areas.
  • Taking steps towards a more holistic approach to healthy and inclusive cultures of smoking, in consideration of students’ ideas based in harm reduction or that address root causes of stress or access to stress reduction alternatives.

You can read the entire report in pdf form at the link below.

Smoking in the Post-Secondary Context Report

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