College divided on issue of smoking on campus

By Samantha Dennis:

Converting City College into a smoke-free campus has been a discussion topic for many years, but soon it may become a reality.

 Campus police have received calls from students and faculty complaining about smoking on campus near doorways, which can lead to cigarette smoke billowing through the hallways and into classrooms.

The current smoking regulations state that smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of any doorway, although this regulation has not been strictly enforced or abided by.

 “There is a push for a smoke-free campus,” City College police officer Erica McGlaston said. “It’s only a matter of time until it’s enforced.”

 Although a draft was composed in 2009 to push the need for a smoke-free campus, no action was taken.

The draft focused on solutions to reduce health factors associated with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), also known as secondhand smoke.

According to the draft, ETS contains “more than 4,000 chemicals, many which are toxic and known to cause cancers. ETS has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known human carcinogen.”

The purpose of the draft was to provide a healthy environment for students and faculty on campus by designating certain areas on campus as “designated smoking areas.”

To some smokers on campus, the plan seems to be a good idea.

“It’s reasonable, as long as areas aren’t a burden to get to,” student Cara Stucker said. “I smoke, but I don’t want to disrespect others who don’t.”

Oscar Pena, president of Associated Students Council, plans to bring the topic to the agenda at the next participatory governance committee meeting.

To enforce a smoke-free campus with designated smoking areas, the plan must be passed on all nine City College locations.

Designated smoking areas will also help with the littering problem that has become overwhelming due to cigarettes butts being tossed on the ground all over campus.

Special receptacles will need to be put in these areas to maintain a safe environment.

There have been instances of students trying to be cleanly by throwing their cigarettes in trash cans, but this has caused fires.

“If you want to smoke, knock yourself out, just don’t trash the campus,” Vince Paratore, a non-smoker and management instructor in the Culinary Department said. “There should definitely be more receptacles put in place to handle the littering problem.”

Students, faculty and campus police have all received complaints about smoking on campus.

A prominent area that smoking seems to be an issue is in Cloud Hall. The crosswind tends to blow the smoke into doorways that are primarily open throughout the school day.

“People complain left and right,” Associated Students Vice President of Administration Deltrice Boyd said. “It is a goal for AS Council to [designate smoking areas] this year.”

According to a list by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, other nearby colleges have also enforced smoke-free policies including Contra Costa College, Skyline College and San Francisco State University.

“We are looking to San Francisco State as a resource for enforcement,” McGlaston said.

A Healthy Me, a nutrition and wellness program that targets reaching your health goals, includes workshops on tobacco and smoking cessation which is useful for students seeking help to quit smoking.

Student Health Services is focused on bettering the students health on campus by coordinating such programs and workshops.

The Health Center is able to do a test on students to show them the percentage of carbon monoxide levels in their system. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is neither visible or scented. It is produced in car exhaust, a variety of fumes and from tobacco smoke.

“Smoking on campus is of importance to Student Health Services,” Department Chair of Student Health Services Paula Cahill said.

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