Trees and sky

Supporting the co-development of a University of Sheffield smoke-free policy with university and community stakeholders


To promote a collaboration between Sheffield City Council and the University of Sheffield to review smoke-free policy at university sites.
Sheffield City Council want Sheffield to be the first city in the UK to achieve smoke-free status in university, college and hospital settings.

Who is involved

Dr Duncan Gillespie and Dr Emma Hock are researchers at the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and university representatives on Sheffield City Council’s Tobacco Control Board, a multi-institutional collaboration to address smoking in the city.

Amanda Pickard is a Public Health Improvement Officer at Sheffield City Council, and current student on the ScHARR Masters of Public Health. Amanda has previously supported Sheffield Hallam University to review its smoke-free policy.

A working group of university and community stakeholders is being convened by the university to review the smoke-free policy and give recommendations.

Informing university decision-making through masters dissertation research

To support this initiative, Emma and Duncan have initiated a series of Masters of Public Health dissertation projects to collect information specific to the university on the problem, opinions and options for new policy.

This research has highlighted issues of campus litter, individual rights, the link between smoking and student stress, problems of smoking near buildings, no-smoking signage, policy on e-cigarettes, convenience of designated smoking areas, equality and impact on smokers with disabilities.


Emma and Duncan take to the road and visit the university campus to discuss smoke-free campuses. The tour starts at the Regent Court building and takes in various locations before finishing at Firth Court. Over the course of the walk, we discuss what a smoke free campus would be like, how we become smoke free and lessons learned from the NHS; as well as the issues relating to public health behaviour change.

Part of the ScHARR Communicable Research Series produced by Andy Tattersall.

Available via Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Anchor.

My Smokefree University Story

Working with Amanda Pickard from Sheffield City Council’s Public Health Department opened my eyes regarding the difference we could make to people’s lives.

I’ve been working in health and safety for over 25 years and I can honestly say that leading the Smokefree University project is probably the most important project I’ve been involved with. Statistically, for every 10 members of staff or students that we can influence and support in stopping smoking, we will potentially save 5 lives. Considering that we have thousands of members of staff and tens of thousands of students, the potential for saving lives is enormous! That definitely makes it worth the effort.

Trevor Cooper
Health and Safety Manager
Sheffield Hallam University