Smokers insist on lighting up at RCC

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By Nita Gandhi / News Editor

Students smoking during classes (Shamier Ford / Staff Photographer)

By Nita Gandhi / News Editor

There are no-smoking signs in different areas of the Riverside City College campus that are clearly visible.

However, some students still light up cigarettes and take their medical marijuana medication on campus. 

RCC passed the smoke free campus policy in 1990. The policy amended in 2002, states that smoking tobacco and using non-tobacco products are prohibited. 

Other regulations required non-smoking signs be posted in different parts of campus, encouraging Health Services to provide literature on the health risks of smoking and the enforcement procedures. 

Campus police do take action for students who smoke on campus. 

“We issue a verbal warning first; then if the person repeats smoking on campus they get a written referral to the dean of students,” said RCC police Chief Jim Miyashiro.

“The dean will decide what action to take next if they repeat it for the third time,” he said.

According to a Riverside Community College District document, in April 2009 the district changed its policy again to not designate smoking areas.
“It has now come to the attention of the Chancellor’s Office that smoking at all three campuses is out of control and is not being enforced,” the document states. “Individuals who smoke are smoking wherever they please and the designated smoking areas have become an area for groups to loiter.” 

There are no longer any designated smoking areas at RCC. 

“Even the parking lots are not OK for students to smoke,” Miyashiro said. 

Students have to watch out for the police in the parking lots looking for a chance to catch a smoker lighting up and give a ticket. 

“I was in the back parking lot one day after school and I was sitting in my car on the phone with a cigarette and a cop came over and told me to put it out,” said student Joshua Salazar.

“He threatened me with a ticket.  I didn’t want to get into any trouble so I put it out,” he said.

According to some students, people smoke more or less in different semesters.  

However, some students congregate by the sidewalks around the campus to smoke. 

“I usually don’t smoke on campus, but during the summer or in the spring there are a lot more people smoking,” said student Dylan Jennings.
“Word gets around that people are getting tickets, so they are scared to smoke,” she said.

Regarding medical marijuana, Salazar and Jennings said they have not seen anyone medicating on campus. 

“That doesn’t bother me really,” Jennings said. 

Miyashiro recommended that people who smoke and have a medical marijuana card should medicate after school when they get home and not smoke their medication on campus.

“Even if it is medical marijuana there is no smoking on campus,” he said.

In November, California voters will be able to vote to legalize the sale, cultivation, possession, transportation and use of medical marijuana.
The measure will also include establishing the laws for the regulation and taxation of marijuana. 

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