More than one year has gone by since City College decided to create designated smoking areas for students and faculty members.
This fall, City College will initiate a new policy of going smoke- and tobacco-free. This would make the college the second Los Rios campus to do so after American River College.
The new regulation was first announced by previous City College President Kathryn Jeffery on Dec. 11, 2015. The new guidelines will ban cigarettes, vape pens, and chewing tobacco from campus.
Communications and Public Information Officer Rick Brewer says the no smoking policy will not only help make the campus environment healthier, but will also reinforce students to think about quitting smoking and establish a healthier lifestyle.
“We [have] to have a campus where everybody feels like it’s a clean and healthy environment,” said Brewer. “So we’re actually a training ground for other places around the city and the state that are smoke-free. We look at it from an educational standpoint, as well and as a training ground for what else is going on.”
Brewer says there is a smoking committee on campus made up of several City College employees that has conducted a large amount of research after the designated smoking sections were put in place on campus. Some of the group’s research included polling students and faculty members about their overall satisfaction with smoking sections.
“The smoking committee continued to survey the students and faculty to find out whether they felt that it was time to go in a direction that was more non-smoking,” said Brewer. “The preponderance of evidence has been that, yes, people want a non-smoking facility here in the college.”
According to Brewer, the committee sent an email survey to students and staff members during the spring 2015 semester. Results showed that 50 percent of those who answered were in favor of a smoke-free campus and 7 percent were in favor of a tobacco-free campus. With the results from the surveys and the support from the Academic Senate, the Classified Senate, the senior leadership team, and the Student Senate, Jeffrey made the decision to allow City College to go completely smoke-free in August 2016.
Students have mixed feelings about what it will be like with the new changes on campus this fall.
City College student Yang Her has been smoking for roughly 15 years and says the new smoking rule will make it difficult to find locations where he can smoke in between class.
“This rule is okay if you don’t smoke, but if you smoke like me it’s going to be kind of hard,” said Her. “I’m pretty punctual, so I only need to smoke every two hours or so. If I have to, I’ll go across the street and smoke, but most people won’t.”
Ralph Tilson, president of the Secular Student Alliance, has been smoking a vape pen for roughly nine months. He said he has heard about the upcoming smoking policy, but wasn’t aware about the surveys, and doesn’t believe it was a fair representation of the student body.
“I wasn’t aware that they were holding a vote, or thinking about doing this on campus,” said Tilson. “I think it would have been better for them to say, ‘Hey everyone, we’re going to be voting on this so you better throw your hat in.” said Tilson.
But Tilson admitted that the new guidelines will help those trying to quit smoking.
“I’m trying to quit anyway, though, so it’ll be more of an incentive to not [smoke] and go across the street,” said Tilson. “I can see on certain days it’ll be a hassle, because usually when I have short breaks I can just walk to one of the smoking tents before class.”
Other students on campus, however, have stated that they love the idea of City College going smoke-free. Journalism major Kalaisha Totty says the new anti-smoking policy is a great change for the campus, and will make things easier for the non-smoking students who have to put up with it.
“I think that the designated smoking areas aren’t enough because smoke travels and [students] that have to walk past [them] in order to get to their classes do experience second hand smoke,” Totty says. “So I think that it’s really good that our campus is not only trying to increase the student health, but also just being more environmentally friendly.”
Brewer said he hopes the students will respect this new smoking policy, consider the negative effects smoking has on their bodies, and hopefully end their addiction in the future.
For more information and resources on nicotine dependence, students can stop by the health care center, or visit http://www.scc.losrios.edu/healthservices/smoking-cessation-resources/.