Campus smoking ban considered; favored by Academic Senate

Saddleback may join other local colleges and institute a smoke-free policy. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Flickr – Michael W. Way)

Michael Grennell

The South Orange Community College District is proposing a policy that, if passed, would ban smoking on all South Orange County Community College District properties.

In the policy, cigars, cigarettes and pipes would be banned from campus, along with electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

“It is the intent of the South Orange County Community College District to maintain an educational and workplace environment that is conductive to the health and safety of our students and employees,” the policy states. “Realizing the health hazards posed by smoking and by second-hand smoke, it is the policy of the South Orange County Community College District to maintain a smoke free environment for all district sites.”

The Saddleback College Academic Senate voted unanimously in favor of the policy during their meeting on Sept. 25. During discussion of the policy, Academic Senate president Dan Walsh said that it was inspired by the recent smoking ban that took effect at California State University, Fullerton, as well as the upcoming smoking ban in the University of California system set to go into effect in 2014.

In an announcement in Feb., the California State University Chancellor’s office stated that in response to a resolution passed by the CSU Academic Senate, they will begin the process of implementing a tobacco products ban across all 23 campuses.

The announcement did not specify a start date to the ban, instead saying that a task force would be created, and a report would be issued before the end of the calendar year.

If the policy passes, IVC and Saddleback would become the second and third community college campuses in Orange County to have a complete smoking ban. According to the California Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN) website, there are currently 14 community colleges in California that have “100% Tobacco- Free” policies. Fullerton College is the only community college in Orange County that is smoke free.

According to CYAN’s data, Saddleback and IVC’s current policies prohibit smoking within 25 feet of campus buildings, while Coastline Community College, Cypress College, and Orange Coast College prohibit smoking within 20 feet. Golden West College, Santa Ana College, and Santiago Canyon College all have prohibited smoking on campus except for in parking lots, with Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon allowing smoking only in designated lots.

There are more than 1,100 campuses across the country that have smoke-free policies implemented, according  to the Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights organization. Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Louisiana all have passed legislation banning smoking on public colleges and universities. Iowa is the only state to have passed legislation banning smoking on both public and private institutions.