New smoking policy may push smokers to parking lots

Smokers at Cal State Fullerton may have to start putting more consideration into where they are smoking on campus.

The Environmental Health and Instructional Safety offices have proposed a new smoking policy on campus and, if put into effect, will require students and faculty who smoke to do so in one of the 23 designated areas placed throughout campus.

The draft of the new policy states, “To mitigate well-established health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke, the California State University Board of Trustees delegated authority to campus presidents to adopt rules regulating smoking on campuses. California State University Fullerton prohibits smoking in all areas except for specific outdoor designated smoking locations.”

This new policy would prohibit smoking in all outdoor areas except parking lots or other specifically designated smoking areas.
Smokers don’t always follow the current policy and can be found smoking within 20 ft. of campus buildings.

The current smoking policy, which is required by state law at all California State University establishments, prohibits smoking within 20 feet of any building owned by a CSU. Smoking is permitted everywhere else outside unless otherwise posted.

The problem with this policy is that since the rules are self-regulated and there is no serious enforcement mechanism, it is difficult for these rules to be regulated, and students often don’t follow them, Tom Whitfield, director of the Environmental Health and Instructional Safety, said.

Students can often be seen smoking on balconies and in other areas that are clearly within a 20-foot radius of a building.

“Many smokers tend to not keep that distance from the buildings,” said Whitfield. “There needs to be a way to keep that distance from high-traffic areas so people aren’t having to walk through a cloud of smoke.”

Although it will still be a self-enforced rule, Whitfield feels the new policy will have a more positive impact on campus.

“It will provide a safer environment for students and faculty by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke,” Whitfield said.

Associate Director of Safety Programs and Services Scott Bourdon, who helped design the proposal, also said that the proposed 23 designated areas will be placed where it is easy for people to avoid second-hand smoke, and that at some point a form of identification or signage will be placed so smokers will be aware of where they can smoke.

“Smokers can still smoke, but it will also be easy for people to avoid the smoke,” added Bourdon.

Both Whitfield and Bourdon see the policy as a positive thing, and many students agree with the change.

“I think it would be great,” said Kaitlin Nguyen, a 25 year old marketing major.

Nguyen mentioned that while she doesn’t have a problem with people who smoke, she likes that the new policy wouldn’t expose her to second-hand smoke.

“You don’t have to walk out of class and have smoke all around you,” she said.

David Trautz, 22, a liberal arts major who smokes on campus, said that while he felt the new policy would be a hassle, he is aware of the concerns of smoking and would be willing to follow it.

“People are more health conscious and don’t like smoke,” he said. “I try to be courteous when I smoke; and even though it’s outside, I understand people don’t want to be exposed to second-hand smoke.”

Some students, however, weren’t too happy about the idea.

“It doesn’t seem fair to be herded into a small area to smoke,” said Adam Lopez, a 19 year old math major.

Lopez also said he felt like the new policy meant smokers would be “brushed off to the side” on campus.

There is no set date of when the policy will be put into effect, but Whitfield said that it could happen sometime later this fall, depending on the approval of various entities on campus.

For now, students are still required to stay at least 20 feet away from buildings while smoking.

Bourdon mentioned that the enforcement of any rule would require the effort of all members of CSUF’s campus. “We cannot rely on someone for enforcement,” he said. “We’ll have to rely on everyone for compliance.”

© Copyright: 16 Sept, 2009 Dailytitan

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