Smoking ban rolls in with the fall semester

'No Tobacco' signs posted around campus prohibit the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes on campus.

Newly posted ‘No Tobacco’ signs prohibit the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes on campus (Niko LaBarbera/Lariat).

Saddleback College is headed toward a healthier future one cigarette at a time.

The entire South Orange County Community College District, which includes both Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College, began the ban of on-campus tobacco use August 17.

The ban pertains to students, faculty, staff, visitors and the general public who visit the college campus. All tobacco products are prohibited including cigarettes, chew, cigars, pipes and even vaporizers. Violators may be subject to citation.

The new board policy was approved by the district and backed by the college’s Associated Student Government. The SOCCCD and ASG collectively believe a new non-smoking policy will create a more educational and work like institution.

SOCCCD made the decision without listening to the voices and opinions of its students, faculty and staff. Although ASG supported the no smoking policy, daily smoking students were ignored.

“Students did not have full participation,” said Bruce Gilman, an English instructor and member of the Academic Senate.

A major issue that arose while allowing tobacco use on campus was litter. Cigarette trash has always been prevalent on campus. Some areas of campus were literally covered with cigarette butts.

“Clean your trash,” said Daniel Bernal, 18.

The difference could have been one. One campus smoker speaking to defend and apologize for the trash and nuisance for all campus smokers could have changed the policy.

The obvious truth is that this new policy signals a win for non-smokers. But, what does it mean for smokers?

“Honestly, I’ll smoke anywhere,” said biology major Patrick Stumps, 22.

Stumps is a tobacco smoker trying to quit and has admitted that the ban makes it difficult to smoke.

Even though the new policy makes smoking a hassle, countless students still do so. Cigarette butts are still being found near the library and the smell of smoke still permeates the fresh air.

While smokers may dislike the new policy, those looking to quit have found a much-needed push to live addiction free .

Psychology major Helya Goleadi, 19, and a tobacco smoker, supports the ban. Goleadi is trying to quit smoking and said her smoking increased when on campus.

“I wanted to quit but…I would smoke more when others did.” Goleadi said.

Smokers and non-smokers alike agree that smoking zones need to become available. The designated spots are unclear. But, unanimously asked, a good start would be away from the library or any classroom.

Psychology major Diana Ortega, 18, is a nonsmoker, although she defends those who do.

“I could care less about the smoke,” Ortega said. “They should be able to smoke in the parking lot or somewhere far out of reach.”