City College to be smoke-, tobacco-free by fall 2016

City College students gathered in the Designated Smoking Area provided for them on campus Oct. 27. Vanessa S. Nelson | Photo Editor | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.comCity College students gathered in the Designated Smoking Area provided for them on campus Oct. 27. Vanessa S. Nelson | Photo Editor | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com
City College students gathered in the Designated Smoking Area provided for them on campus Oct. 27. Vanessa S. Nelson | Photo Editor | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com

City College students gathered in the Designated Smoking Area provided for them on campus Oct. 27. Vanessa S. Nelson | Photo Editor | vanessanelsonexpress@gmail.com

City College will become smoke- and tobacco-free in fall 2016, City College’s President Kathryn E. Jeffery announced Dec. 8 in an email.

“The most recent smoking survey results conducted during the spring 2015 semester demonstrates support for this healthy change,” Jeffery wrote in a statement to the faculty, staff and administrators on campus.

“Although the survey did not ask for a vote on the combination of smoke- and tobacco-free (tobacco-free refers to all forms of tobacco products including, but not limited to, smoking, electronic smoking devices, and chewing tobacco), the results indicated 50.3 percent in favor of a smoke-free campus and 7.3 percent in favor of a tobacco-free campus,” she said.

For the past year, City College has confined smokers to Designated Smoking Areas on campus, while its sister campus American River College will be smoking-, tobacco- and vape-free as of January 2016.

“They have to give it up most environments or public places in the community,” said Wendy Gomez of the Subcommittee of the Safety Committee, “not just here.”

In the coming months the campus subcommittee of the Safety Committee will be working to make City College smoke-free.

“By having smoke- and tobacco-free campuses, we will be promoting the type of healthy lifestyle that increases our students’ chances at success in life after SCC,” Jeffery said in her statement. “Starting in spring 2016 a campaign to communicate the coming change to a smoke- and tobacco-free campus will begin.

“Information on cessation resources will be made available. Ashtrays and shelters presently set up in Designated Smoking Areas at the campuses will be re-purposed,” Jeffery said.

Student smokers feel that the DSAs should not be removed.

“They shouldn’t take it away,” says Agriculture and Animal Science Major Chris Craig.

Gomez said the move is a shared governance decision that began with the issue being raised by the Campus Safety Committee.

“An entity on campus or a person on campus submits an issue form, and then it is considered by all the constituency groups on campus,” she said. “The recommendations are made based on all those groups having their weigh-in on it.”

During the spring 2015 semester a second survey about smoking on campus, conducted by the subcommittee of the SCC Campus Safety Committee, was sent out to students, faculty and staff through their Los Rios Gmail accounts. During the fall 2015 semester the results of the survey were sent to the campus community.

These surveys led to the decision to make City College smoke-free.

“The initial survey resulted in the creation of the designated smoking areas,” said Gomez. “The follow-up survey to that is now resulting in going smoke- and tobacco-free.”

In the first survey in 2014, which was district-wide, 6.4 percent of the respondents said that they smoke. On the second survey in 2015, which had fewer respondents, 8.4 percent said that they were smokers, Gomez said.

“The first survey was the largest one in the district done. It had 3,361 respondents,” she said. “[In the second survey] only 1,785 responded.”

Since the DSAs have been established, the Los Rios Board of Trustees modified the district’s smoking policy to allow campuses to become smoke-free.

American River College Public Information Scott Crow said ARC has been working on a smoke-, tobacco- and vapor-free learning and work environment. Their surveys to their students, faculty and staff showed that 89 percent of students and 97 percent of employees do not smoke.

“We will ask and encourage smokers to follow the college’s standard and not smoke while on campus,” Crow said. “Of course, we will support those who wish to stop smoking. Enforcement of the standard will primarily be educational. The success of this effort relies on the respectful consideration and cooperation of both tobacco users and non-tobacco users.”

Crow said that ARC will provide resources to “address enforcement and violations in a respectful manner.”

“We are not requiring smoke, tobacco or vape users to quit,” he said. “They just can’t smoke, vape or use any other tobacco product on all ARC campuses and properties.”

“I saw that ARC is becoming smoke-free,” says Business Management major Jeffrey Smith, who is a City College student. “Because it’s becoming smoke-free I decided not to go there.”

Gomez said that smokers will have to make a choice.

“They either need to make the decision to quit and not have to deal with the issue anymore, or they have to learn how to deal with their addiction in an environment that does not allow smoking,” said Gomez.