Campus Smoke-Free Effective Immediately

Kristine Tuzon, Staff Writer

The ongoing issue on the smoking policy on campus ended when GCC became a smoke-free college on April 15, after the board of trustees voted in favor of the new revised plans.

The smoking policy, Board Policy 3570, now states that smoking is not permitted on any district-owned property. It pertains to all students, faculty, staff and the general public.

The new Administrative Regulation 3570 explains the policy’s rules. It states that the policy shall apply to all owned or leased Glendale College facilities and all owned or leased district vehicles. This includes the Garfield campus, the Professional Development Center in Montrose and also the Baja Field Station in Mexico.

It also states that electronic cigarettes or other imitation cigarette devices are prohibited.

Interim Superintendent/President Jim Riggs proposed the smoking ban in the fall.

“There was no way to isolate the smoking areas that wouldn’t infringe on people who didn’t want to be subjected to the smoke,” Riggs said.

When the policy passed, he said he was pleased with the results.

“I put out a list of things I wanted to get done before I left and that was one of them.” Riggs said.

Astronomy department head and planetarium director Jennifer Krestow said when the smoking area was along the side of the planetarium, the classroom would smell like smoke, because the tobacco fumes would seep into the planetarium’s auxiliary air conditioning system. Another problem she directed was when the grade school children would visit the planetarium and pass through the former area, inhaling secondhand smoke.

“I appreciate the fact that my work environment will not have second-hand smoke in it the way it used to have,” Krestow said.

Psychology department chair Jessica Gillooly has been a strong non-smoking advocate for the campus.

In 2010, Gillooly teamed up with the health center and organized a “Freedom from Smoking” campaign for anyone who wanted to quit smoking.

“I’m still committed to doing ‘Freedom from Smoking’ or help organize the Nicotine Anonymous,” Gillooly said. “I’m willing to do that because I really do believe that it is important that we set good policy and examples.”

Currently, the health center provides Smoking Cessation, information for smokers on ways to quit. On its website, it provides SmokefreeTXT, a mobile service created to provide 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips to help smokers stop smoking for good. With the new policy, the health center will receive more available resources to help GCC as it transitions into a smoke-free college.

A $100 citation will be given out to anyone who is caught smoking on campus.

GCC Police Chief Gary Montecuollo said the police would not issue citations until the fall, hoping to educate and give people time to understand the new policy.

Citations will also be given out to people caught littering cigarettes butts.

“We want to ensure that students succeed just like every other department, but we also have the added responsibility of public safety,” Montecuollo said. “Part of the public safety is to enforce the rules that are in place. That’s what we’re tasked with.”

The revenue received will be used for enforcement and education.

There are a few ways the school has been informing the campus about the new ban.

On May 16, the administration sent out an email to all GCC provided emails warning everyone about the new policy.

“We are going to repeat the email with students both now, the summer and the beginning of the fall so all incoming students will have accessibility to the same information,” Montecuollo said.

Riggs said the designated area signs and ashtrays have been removed, and replaced with “no smoking” signs.

Faculty members were informed when they received flyers in their mailbox.

Montecuollo said his cadets and officers have been informing smokers at former designated smoking areas. He also said during the summer the cadets will pass out flyers to each person who enters the parking structure as a reminder.

Other ideas include inserting a section in the school catalog and speaking to incoming student groups.

ASGCC president and student trustee Arman Marukyan was the only board member who voted against the policy.

“The ASGCC and I were against the smoking policy. We felt that it wasn’t fair to smokers and our current policy was fine as long as we enforced it,” the non-smoker said. “I do think the rights of smokers on campus are being violated, that is why I believe that the past policy was better.”

Though the new policy has passed, Marukyan said ASGCC and he will post the smoking policy on their newsletter and will focus on informing students during the first few weeks of the fall semester.

Smoker Aiden Rutten, 19, is disappointed, but understands the new situation.

“I see a lot less people smoking and I was surprised that I didn’t see a bunch of people out on the streets smoking all the time,” Rutten said. “I prefer to have at least one or two smoking meccas off to the side somewhere. That’d be kind of nice just for people who smoke, but it’s understandable why it’s not there anymore.”

GCC became the 1,160th campus in the US to go smoke-free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Glendale follows UCLA as they became smoke and tobacco-free on April 22.

Montecuollo said, “We have a mission to provide public safety for everyone.”

Shortly after the April 15 vote, Riggs said, “You’ll be joining nearly 1,200 colleges nationwide and a growing number in the state of California.”