OPINION: Together we can bring back cigarettes

Students Jayvin Fulinara and Tamm Park refuse to stop smoking on campus even if it means getting fined. (Jordan Rangel/Lariat)

Students Jayvin Fulinara and Tamm Park refuse to stop smoking on campus even if it means getting fined. (Jordan Rangel/Lariat)

Smokers, like any other group of people, must have their own rights. This semester is the first with a complete ban on all types of tobacco, including cigarettes, vaporizers and chew.

If a student, faculty member, visitor or general public is caught breaking this ban, according to the South Orange County Community College District’s Administrative Regulation 2150, dated Jan. 15, 2015, “violators of this regulation may be subject to a citation.”

 The problem is that tobacco use is not only a personal choice, but it is also an addiction. Other addictions like alcoholism are considered to be a disease; there should be no differentiation between a tobacco addiction and an alcohol addiction.

There is no need to tend to the smokers like a hungry baby, but it should be viewed more as a whining baby. This is not a real life or death situation, but could be regarded as an annoyance that could be attended to with a cigarette pacifier.

“I don’t want to step on their cigarette butts like last semester or have smoke blown in my face on my way to class,” said Elias Licea, a 21 year-old criminal justice major.

During the 2015 spring semester, all ashtrays had been removed and smokers used creativity to get rid of their cigarette butts. The main spots to find butts were pretty much right where they had been sitting. In reality, the smokers were not to blame. There had been no ban on tobacco use yet but the removal of campus safe disposals was evidenced.

Smokers rights were not taken into account when the new smoking ban passed so Jayvin Fulinara will smoke anywhere he pleases on campus (Jordan Rangel/Lariat)

Smokers rights were not taken into account when the new smoking ban passed so Jayvin Fulinara will smoke anywhere he pleases on campus (Jordan Rangel/Lariat)

In short, it was a scam, a checkmate of some sort before the SOCCCD and the Associated Student Government who passed the ban. They exacerbated the problem to seem worse than it actually was It took on a life of its own as a purely heroic act on their part to pass full tobacco prohibition.

“They took away the ashtrays and they (students) had to get rid of their butts,” said  Cheryl Anderson, the barista at the coffee attendant near level one of the library.

Maybe the complete smoking ban could be a positive helpful hand to those addicts trying to quit. If a casual smoking student truly feels threatened by the pressure of receiving a citation, this could force the reduction in the tobacco usage.

Furthermore, on another positive note, all money spent on smoking and other related objects of paraphernalia could be redirected elsewhere in their lives. The most useful aspect their money could provide is to aid in their education costs and thus would also help to stimulate our college income for more fun events or better equipment like desks and chairs.

But if tobacco users wish to smoke, let them. It is their right, their lifestyle choice. By this point in their lives, they undoubtedly know the physical consequences. We just need to be certain that the secondhand smoke does not detrimentally affect those in close proximity. Here is where the enforcement should lie, with designated areas for smoking, no ifs, ands or “butts.”

“I don’t even care, I’ll smoke here (front of the Library), over there (Fine Arts building), anywhere,” said student Jayvin Fulinara.

To be fair to the smokers, ashtrays in said designated areas should be made available. The ground is not as littered as previously but providing ashtrays will give smokers the opportunity to prove they are willing to follow the rules as long as there is cooperation on both sides.

“I don’t smoke, but I think they (smokers) should have designated areas away from classrooms and it’s the right thing,” Licea said.

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