Ban enforcement up in smoke

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By Rebecca Kern / Asst. Opinions Editor

By Rebecca Kern / Asst. Opinions Editor

Riverside City College, like 260 other colleges and universities across the United States, has recently joined in the movement of becoming a healthier and cleaner campus.

On Sept. 15, 2009 the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a new policy, a ban over tobacco use on campus.

The ban prohibits the use of smoking both tobacco and non-tobacco products as well as smokeless tobacco.

Students are not the only ones affected by the policy but faculty, staff and the general public also need to take note of the new regulation.

Enforcement, according to policy, is as follows: First offense entails a verbal warning and review of Policy and Administrative Procedure.

On a second offense the student will receive a referral to the Dean of Student Services for consultation and written reprimand for continual violation of the rules.

On a third offense, discipline in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, Board Policies and Administrative Procedures will take place.

Employees caught in noncompliance with the policy are to be disciplined in a similar fashion including a referral sent to a manager/supervisor.

Members of the public receive a first verbal warning then a removal from grounds on the second offense.

There are many students on campus who smoke and most of those have not taken the ban seriously and continue to light up.

The ban is absolutely pointless if not being enforced and the smoking community seems to not care.

It is a courtesy to non-smoking students for those who want to light up to either wait until they leave campus or walk those few extra yards to an off campus location to smoke.

According to the American Cancer Society, the frequency of smoking in the United States is highest among college-aged students, ages 18 to 24.

While other age groups are decreasing their tobacco use, the society says college students are smoking at a greater rate.

The new bans across the country should definitely be enforced as strongly as the prohibitions of dry campuses.

Administrations and students combined are looking to keep young people as healthy and safe as possible.

Realizing the difficulty of not being able to smoke and fill a craving may be a huge eye opener for the addicted smoking population.

Choosing to wait until their day on campus is finished can possibly be the ignition to quitting completely.

One student, a smoker, said that he doesn’t feel that it is pertinent to stop smoking because there is a lack of enforcement. Even if stronger enforcement takes place he would relight his cigarette after the security or administration walks away.

Not only are non-smokers affected by secondhand smoke but also by other means of tobacco use.

A non-smoking student witnessed a gentleman chewing smokeless tobacco and saw him spit the juice down the drain of a water fountain.

“He was kind enough to wash it down the drain,” she said.

Not many students would feel comfortable drinking in the same fountain after seeing the thick tobacco juice stain the fountain bowl.

As the ban is not being taken seriously, maybe we should remember that the campus consequences aren’t as bad as it is in city parks and beaches.

A fine of up to $100 is what to look forward to if the Senate Bill 4 passes, which will ban smoking from 278 state parks and beaches in California.

Supporters are more concerned with the litter and toxicity of butts on the ground than the smoke in the air.

Rules and regulations are placed for a reason and if administration does not take enforcement seriously then the ban needs to be lifted.

Likewise, smoking students need to respect their peers and campus and join the movement in creating a healthy environment for the RCC community as a whole.

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