By Nelson Estrada
The Health and Safety Committee for a smoke-free campus is gaining awareness and support by implementing a new online “wiki” discussion group and posting signs around campus.
“We would like all constituent groups of City College to have a voice in going smoke-free and get their opinion on the designated smoking areas,” said Sunny Clark, the associate dean of student health services and director of the Student Health Center.
The “wiki” community is an online forum where people can post their thoughts about smoking on campus and get a chance to comment on other posts and current policy changes that are being discussed. This “wiki” recently went live on March 17 and is currently only open to administrators, department chairs, and a few select others. Although she cannot give a definite timeline, Clark said that eventually all constituencies will be allowed to give input on the “wiki.” The next to gain access will probably be the faculty and staff. The “wiki” will be slowly implemented to ensure it is working effectively.
The changes being discussed on the “wiki” are the placement of designated smoking areas in Ram Plaza, Cloud Plaza, Diego Rivera/Arts building, Batmale 4th floor deck, the area across from the Lunch Box and the Student Union outside the City Café.
The current campus smoking policy requires smokers to be at least 20 feet from government buildings. “The language of the current policy stipulates that agencies can regulate or even eliminate smoking,” Clark said.
Approximately 20 signs have been posted in the grass along the stairs leading from Ram Plaza to Cloud Hall and also from Phelan Avenue to the Science Building. These sign postings, informally referred to as “the stick in the grass campaign,” are used to raise awareness and are a testament to the increased support the “smoke-free” effort has gained.
The issue of whether the campus should be smoke-free has been an ongoing debate, with many non-smoking students claiming it jeopardizes their health. According to the American Lung Association, “It [secondhand smoke] is involuntarily inhaled by non-smokers, lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished and can cause or exacerbate a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.”
Clark warned non-smokers against the hazards of secondhand smoke, comparing it to the spreading of a disease.“The public’s health supersedes the individual’s rights,” she said.
Many people are now moving toward a healthier lifestyle, making it an ideal time to gain support for the changes to the smoking policy.
The newly created “wiki” can be viewed at http://www.ccsfsmokefree.pbwiki.com.