Smoking regulations hazy

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By Matthew D. Gilford

By Matthew D. Gilford

With only three designated smoking areas, Riverside City College has very strict smoking regulations. Still, that fact doesn’t stop students from smoking wherever they want.

Krystal Cass, a resident RCC smoker, has never been bothered by campus security about smoking in non-designated areas.

“They just walk right by me,” she said, adding that she does not know where to get further information regarding the location of RCC’s three designated smoking areas.

One campus security guard said that he has never given a citation to anybody who has been caught smoking a cigarette on campus, but that he had given a few warnings. He went on to say that, to the best of his knowledge, “smoking on the parking lots is allowed.”

RCCD Board Regulations state that any property that is “owned, leased, or rented by or from the District, unless a tobacco use area has been designated” is non-smoking territory. This language seems to include the parking lots.

According to the Health Services Web site, RCCD was the first community college district in the United States to pass such a comprehensive, district wide non-smoking policy.

In 2004, the Strategic Planning Committee passed “an interim plan,” to approve eight additional smoking areas to the then-existing two. Today, none of those eight additional smoking areas exist.

In 2005, the Smoking Committee (a subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Committee) came to an agreement. They decided to recommend a maximum of four smoking sections to be set adjacent to the Landis Auditorium, Technology Building A, the Business Building, and the Cosmetology Building.

What were once eight, and then four, somewhere along the line were reduced to only three.

“The final decision was supposedly made by the student body,” said Grace Slocum, RCC Board Member, during a Viewpoints interview. She went on to say that it was not completely clear to her where the final decision originated.

RCCD’s smoking policy is more restrictive than several other large California Universities. UCLA and USC both have non-smoking policies for the inside of buildings, as well as non-smoking policies for any area within 20 feet of doorways and operable windows. Students are also barred from smoking within 20 feet of air conditioners. Aside from these few rules, students are generally allowed to smoke wherever they please.

Humbolt State University is another California campus with a non-smoking policy similar to RCC’s. HSU’s campus is composed of approximately 50 buildings and 17 smoking areas, or about a 3:1 ratio of buildings to designated smoking areas.

In contrast, RCC has approximately 35 buildings and 3 smoking areas, or about a 12:1 ratio.

Over 17,000 students are registered at RCC, compared to HSU’s 7,000.

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