Smoking Regulations In Need of Enforcement

El Vaquero Staff Writer

The habit of smoking to relieve stress has now resulted in more stress for the college — over how to regulate smoking.

According Police Chief Steven Wagg California State Law (Sections 7596 and 7597) states that “there is to be no smoking within 20 feet of a building entrance or operable window.” This law is especially applicable to the walkway east of the San Gabriel Building because of the fresh air intake valves that are installed overhead.

The chair of the photography department, Joan Watanabe said it’s a huge problem, “even though there are a million signs posted that say ‘no smoking in this area’ students still smoke. This smoke goes directly into the classrooms. It has become a health issue because this is second hand smoke.”

Another area where there are fresh air intake valves is in the San Fernando Court at the end of each one of the bungalows.

Larry Serot, executive vice president of administrative services, said: “No matter what we do we have to stop people from smoking in those areas because that’s become a real health concern. Students are complaining to teachers [and] teachers are very angry so we need to do something about that.”

Members of the Administrative Affairs committee must now regulate smoking, but the faculty is trying to figure out how to regulate smoking without making it a bigger problem that it needs to be.
Serot said that currently there are four proposed options on how to regulate smoking on campus.

The first is to post and enforce the existing state law, which states that one cannot smoke within 20 feet of a door or an open window.
The second option is to ban smoking on campus.

The third option would be to have designated smoking areas. This “means that you allow people to smoke on campus, but they must smoke on areas that you designate and they can’t smoke any place else,” said Serot.
“We are currently looking at where those designated areas should be.”
The fourth option is a combination of enforcing the law and “developing certain areas on campus that you cannot smoke in,” Serot added.

“Those areas would be where there is air intake for the air conditioning system. If anyone happens to smoke in the prohibited areas there will be a very heavy fine,” said Serot.

Student Juan Guien believes “smokers should have their own section to smoke because I’ve personally heard people complain about second hand smoke and it’s pretty bad, especially for the ones who are health conscious.”

An International student from South Korea, and an avid smoker, Young Koun said, “I think that [the campus] should not create smoking areas because then there will be a pack of people standing together smoking.”
“It’s college. We should be able to do whatever we want; we should be treated like adults,” Koun said. “Students need to be courteous.”

He said smokers should know not to smoke next to doors or windows.
If the smoke happens to get into the classrooms then someone should just let them know so that they move away.

Wagg said in a written statement: “We have to strive for a balance between the rights of the smokers who want to smoke and the non-smokers who want to be free from the effects of cigarette smoking.”

“We must listen to both sides of the smoking issue and attempt to negotiate toward common ground. I hope that we will be able to resolve our differences and establish a smoking program that everyone can live with.”