IVC’s future could be “tobacco free”

Valery Fregoso

The Irvine Valley College Smoking Policy Work Group and the Office of Research, Planning and Accreditation conducted a smoking survey to all active students proposing a change of the smoking policy on April 16.

The survey invited students in the participation of the survey with incentive of being entered to win a $200 gift card to the Laser Bookstore. The survey lasted for a little over a week and gathered 2,710 responses from students and employees.

Many public colleges are going “smoke free” including the University of California Los Angeles, which became smoke-free starting earth day last Monday and California State University Fullerton, who becomes smoke-free beginning Fall 2013. All UC’s are to be smoke-free by 2014.

Chris Hogstedt, IVC Health and Wellness Center Nurse, runs the Smoking Policy Work Group at IVC.

“Every year or so I go to the student government and tell them that I am interested in what the student interest is in changing the smoking policy. I have done this for several years,” Hogstedt said. “This last year I went to the student government, and every year I have not had any student backing and this year I had a couple of people raise their hand and one of the students came to talk about and form the Smoking Policy Work Group which consists of faculty, students, the police and the public information officer.”

The Smoking Policy Work Group held a “butt pickup” event this past year and picked up 7,000 cigarette butts around campus within 2 hours having 20 people participate in the event. They displayed the container they put all the butts in at the Student Services Center Building on campus. This container was stolen not to long after it was put on display.

Hogstedt is looking for a possible “tobacco free” environment at IVC. In order for the Smoking Policy Work Group to support their interest in changing the smoking policy at Irvine Valley College, they went to the Research, Planning and Accreditation at IVC to help form a survey to be sent to the students.

Chris Hayward, Director of Research, Planning and Accreditation at IVC formed the survey to be sent to the students.

“It is my job to provide surveys and provide decision support on anything the college is involved in. We are here to provide data support for it,” Hayward said.”My office does not have an opinion on the survey. Our goal is to provide accurate and factional information for the smoking policy workgroup so their decisions can be data based and data informed.

Hayward provided the lariat with preliminary results from the survey:

  • Approximately 21 percent of students and 11 percent of employees reported smoking in the past 30 days.
  • Only 64 percent of student smokers and 47% of employee smokers reported smoking on campus at IVC.
  • Approximately 11% of students smoke on campus.
  • Nearly one out of four 20-24 year olds (23 percent) reported smoking in the past 30 days.
  • Males are more likely then females to smoke. (25 percents vs. 17 percent).
  • 90% of non-smokers reported being bothered “a lot” (60 percent) or “a little” (30 percent) by second-hand smoke.
  • 41 percent of respondents indicated that they were exposed to tobacco smoke every time they visited campus.
  • 74 percent of respondents indicated that half or more of their visits to campus resulted in exposure to second-hand smoke.

Through the results of the survey, formal results will be written and then will be presented to the South Orange County Board of Trustees. In order for a change to occur, both Saddleback and Irvine Valley College must present results of students who want the change in the smoking policy.