Smoking ban for campuses approved by assembly

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MCT

Students at Georgia Perimeter College's Clarkston campus smoke in an area just across from the school cafeteria. (Kent D. Johnson/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

Kelly Nam

On April 25, 2016 California Assembly approved tobacco-free campuses on all community colleges and California State University campuses.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, representative of District 7 including parts of Sacramento, is the person behind this proposal.

According to McCarty’s website it states “The Assembly today passed Assembly Bill (AB) 1594, Tobacco/ Smoke Free Public Postsecondary Campuses (McCarty, D-Sacramento) with bipartisan support on a vote of 48 to 24. This bill would prohibit any person from smoking or using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, on any of the California Community College (CCC), and California State University (CSU) campuses by 2018.”

Leslie Castellanos, undecided major said, “The positives of a smoke-free campus is that there would be less air pollution and it is less riskier for people that have asthma.

“As a non-smoker, I dislike second-hand smoke. There are also pregnant women on campus. The policy would also be better for people who smoke because it might be a motivation for them to quit.”

McCarty said, “This measure will promote a safe and healthy environment for students to learn and make campuses a more education-friendly environment and tobacco-smoke-free.”

The proposal includes the right for school trustees and board members to fine smokers up to $100 for smoking violations on campus which, the money would be used for programs on that particular campus where the offense was made.

Not everyone supports this idea, such as Assemblyman Donald Wagner, representative of district 68 which includes Orange County.

He thinks this rule isn’t necessary because there are already local governments that have power to regulate issues such as campus-smoking policies.

His argument is that campus policies should be left alone for the people that are particularly in charge of them to decide on rules.

Some members of Cerritos College ASCC are in support of and planning to implement a tobacco-free policy at Cerritos College.

Hugo Avalos, ASCC Senator expressed, “The biggest reason I support this is health. Second-hand smoke is a big issue, we don’t see the problems until later on.

“Nobody’s doing to really take care of their health issues now and as we get older we will start to realize and wish that we had sone something to prevent this from happening such as bad habits or death.

He continued, “There’s been tons of articles and research that some people that go to tobacco free-campuses actually quit smoking once the policy passes.

“What I plan on doing is having a whole semester where students will adjust and have the idea of a tobacco-free campus, so they can come up with different alternatives or find somewhere that they can smoke outside of campus.

Avalos added, “We [ASCC] will fine people after the transition period but it wont be a huge expensive fine, but more of an annoying fine so people wont want to do it over and over.

We want to come up with a way to adjust to students where if you get caught smoking you would be fined a certain amount, but the second time it would double.”