Controversy in smoking section

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By John Waterman


By John Waterman

Surgeon General’s warning: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy.

This information is a warning printed on every pack of cigarettes, but where do we draw the line between the rights of few and the opinion of others?

According to the RCC Course Catalog, “Smoking of any form of tobacco or non-tobacco products is prohibited on District grounds, in all District vehicles, at any activity or athletic event and on all property owned, leased, or rented by or from the District, unless a tobacco use area has been designated.”

Open debates were held where smokers and non-smokers were given the opportunity to express their opinion regarding the issue of smoking on the Riverside City College campus. The question proposed for students was, “Should smoking continue to be allowed on campus?”

Students that spoke were then given two minutes each to express themselves freely to an audience of their peers.

The main argument against the smoking section (other than obvious health issues) is the impression that it leaves on parents, children on campus tours and potential RCC students. When these people see students in a general area conducting themselves in an immature way it leaves these people with a bad impression of the college.

One RCC student stated that the reason why we should get rid of smoking is because stopping will add about 10 years to your life, and when kids see a huge crowd of individuals smoking, yelling, running around and jumping all over the concrete it looks bad on the campus as a whole. Those opposed to the smoking section say that what they see are things we shouldn’t show them.

One student commented saying, it’s about being polite, not about taking away peoples right.

The smoking section was not meant to be a place to hangout, but the fact remains that the smoking section is the most social place on campus.

In the time since the forums, campus police have been spotted around the smoking area, though it is not without warrant.

“We are here to monitor the area and make sure people are conducting themselves in an orderly fashion … And to make sure this environment is inductive to a learning environment,” said Patrol Officer Don Anderson.

The reason why Campus Police have recently been spending more time in and around the smoking section is because it’s turned into a stomping ground.

Complaints such as harassment, horse-play and a general lack of appropriate conduct have been made throughout campus. The amount of students in the smoking section has grown in proportion to the growing number of students on campus, as a result these complaints have become a regular occurrence due to the overcrowding of the area.

“If they banned smoking on campus I think there would be a rise in issues like ditching and smoking in non-smoking areas on campus,” said RCC student John Whalen. “We don’t condone the actions of certain individuals and any action taken against them would not offend us.”

The smoking area on campus is a courtesy not a right. RCC is in fact a smoke-free campus.

While many want the campus to become entirely smoke free, just as many think that we should enforce the policies that we currently have in place.

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