Smoking will be banned throughout the American University of Sharjah's campus starting next term, the institution's president announced yesterday.
The move is designed to protect the health of people studying and working at the university and help it become a role model for other academic institutes, said Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, the president of AUS, who is also the Ruler of Sharjah.
He announced the initiative during graduation ceremonies at the University City Hall, the state news agency, WAM, reported.
This decision follows other environmentally friendly steps taken by the university, such as a plan to conserve water and electricity used on the campus.
Dr Peter Heath, the AUS chancellor, said the decision was made to protect the health of non-smokers and create a cleaner campus.
"Passive or secondhand smoke is known to cause health problems for non-smokers," he said.
"Our drive is to make the campus smoke-free, pollution-free and dirt-free.
"I understand that this new policy will be a difficult change for some smokers. However, the AUS community regards this as an important health issue," he added.
Merrihan el Shazly, 20, an Egyptian studying advertising and a regular smoker, said the move is good for non-smokers.
"But most students at AUS smoke. It will be really difficult between classes."
She said she has heard that students will be able to smoke only in a parking area.
"But it is too far, and we usually have back-to-back classes with only a 10-minute break, so we can't walk all the way to the area."