Beginning with a letter originally issued by CSU President Mark Yudof in 2012 and ending with an executive order, the university system adopted the new policy. Each campus president is being asked to comply with the system-wide policy and create a smoke-free campus by creating a task force, including a student representative that will serve on the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy Task Force to ensure the campus is moving forward. Over 1,500 other colleges and universities nationwide have already gone smoke and tobacco free.
Kim Comet, HSU Director of Risk Management and Safety Services, said the smoke and tobacco free policy is per executive order from the Chancellor’s Office.
“It applies to all CSU campuses,” Comet said. “Smoking has to occur off of campus.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI) to promote and support the adoption and implementation of tobacco-free policies at universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning across the United States. Enforcement of the new policy will be primarily focused on educational campaigns, outreach programs and the promotion of tobacco treatment options, including resources and referrals for quitting.
“We will mostly be dealing with the policy in the form of education and monitoring,” Chief of University Police Donn Peterson said.
“We will not be the smoking police and will likely refer cases to the appropriate authorities for administrative action once the ban takes place after September 1,” Peterson said, “maps located online and all around campus can be quickly referenced to determine campus boundaries.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and is responsible for 443,000 deaths per year in the United States, with an estimated 49,000 deaths annually due to secondhand smoke exposure.
HSU Director of Housing and Residence Life Steve St. Onge said, in regards to smoking in the residence halls, the school has never allowed smoking in any campus housing facility.
“What has changed is that the smoking gazebos, which had been designated as smoking areas are no longer available for students, faculty or staff to use as designated campus smoking areas,” St. Onge said.
Students have voiced concern over the amount of trash and litter that could increase due to the smoking ban, saying students will not quit smoking and will more than likely resort to becoming sneaky, trying to hide and smoke, which will lead to cigarette butts being thrown on the ground instead of in proper receptacles. Also, the lack of a safe environment on campus to smoke may cause students to walk off campus and put themselves at risk of violence or assault.
HSU student Elena Rios said you can’t force people to stop a habit they have had for awhile.
“As a smoker, you are bombarded with why smoking is bad. People do it all the time, they try to get you to quit,” Rios said. “They tell you reasons why you should quit. It’s your life and you should be able to make your own choices. It’s a civil liberty. I think it’s funny to ban smoking outside.”
According to the CSU website, a cornerstone of the California State University and higher education is the principle of one’s individual freedom to learn, teach, work, think, and take part in their intellectual and career endeavors in a fulfilling, rewarding, safe and healthy environment.
“I can understand banning smoking in certain areas,” HSU student Alex Pickering said, “if they gave us another solution or something. Just give us another area to smoke.”