Students fume over smoking policy:

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By Matt Gilford

By Matt Gilford

The best way to regulate smoking on campus is to narrow the scope of our current smoking regulations. Adding more smoking sections to the campus is the only way to decrease the number of students who are smoking in non-designated areas. This may at first seem counterintuitive, but it is actually perfectly reasonable.

There are currently three smoking areas on the Riverside City College campus. They are located by the Martin Luther King Building, Technology Building A, and the Cosmetology Building. There are no smoking areas on Lovekin Field; there are no smoking areas near the Digital Library; and there are no smoking areas near the Bradshaw Cafeteria.

This lack of community smoking areas is the very thing that causes smoking in non-designated areas.

Adding smoking areas to these busy sections of the campus will have a twofold effect.

Initially, it will lessen the degree of inconvenience to smokers, thereby automatically encouraging them to “go that extra mile” in order to have their cigarettes. Most people are not willing to travel an unreasonably long distance in order to do something that they could do without taking a single step.

Secondly, it will make the requests of campus security and campus police more reasonable to follow.

Furthermore, it is not and has never been the purview of the Associated Students of Riverside Community College, nor the responsibility of the chancellor’s office, the Board of Trustees, or any other RCC organization to look out for the health of its students beyond the wishes of the students themselves. Not even the Health Services department holds such a lofty responsibility.

It should also be pointed out that that there has never, in the history of the world, been a scientific study that shows how second-hand smoke in outdoor areas poses any kind of a health risk to anybody other than smokers themselves.

The decision to ban smoking on campus, I believe, has less to do with giving non-smokers a smoke free environment than it has to do with turning smokers into non-smokers. The smoking regulations, as they exist today, were seemingly written as a ploy by certain college administrators to manipulate the RCC smoking population into giving up their habit.

The evidence for this is numerous: from the former head of the Health Services department passing out health information regarding smoking during Site Committee meetings, to the petty consequence of security and campus police being compelled to refer people to “smoking cessation” programs.

The only available solution to this problem (and it is a problem) is to increase the number of smoking areas on campus. It’s not going to hurt anybody.

Drastically limiting the number of smoking areas on campus hasn’t convinced anybody to quit smoking. It certainly wasn’t the straw that broke my camel’s back. Besides, it is absolutely not the responsibility of RCC to convince people to quit smoking without first gaining the smoker’s explicit permission. The notion that somebody felt like trying is condescending, patronizing, and absurd.

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