Following a passing vote of 64 percent from California State University, Long Beach students, a newly formed taskforce will begin its second meeting on Feb. 27 to address the likelihood of implementing a smoking ban on campus.
To achieve the “smoke-free” policy, the CSU aimed to form a special committee for each campus to tackle the issues. In January 2015, CSULB President Jane Close-Conoley launched a task force comprised of 20 faculty members and representatives of various groups on campus to develop a campus-wide tobacco-free policy and implementation plan.
“It has all the campus constituencies represented and it is to look at the issue of public health and what would be the [effects] of moving to a tobacco free campus and if we do move that way, how we would implement such a change,” said Mary Stephens, the vice president of administration and finance, who helped assemble the taskforce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 42 million adults in the United States currently smoke tobacco. Out of those adults that smoke/ almost 19 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24.
The CSULB taskforce plans to survey the campus and its students to come up with more representative statistics of smoking habits in order to help better implement a policy.
Stephens said that a complete campus-wide ban has not been fully decided upon. The taskforce is evaluating all options, but they are considering towards tobacco-free, Stephens said.
“There’s a groundswell towards going tobacco-free,” Stephens said. “The students have put forward their resolution, the statewide academic senate has put together a resolution. There’s a lot of support for moving in that direction.”
Senior health science major Rachel Mosqueda said she is a smoker and that she is concerned about a potential enforcement of an all-out ban.
“I think that completely banning it would cause a lot of conflict…but it’s understandable because of the health risks,” Mosqueda said. “But for people who do smoke, like right after a stressful class, it would be inconvenient for them to walk all the way off campus for a ten minute cigarette. I just think in general it would cause a lot of havoc.”
Junior accounting major Freddy Angeles, a nonsmoker, said he would be in favor of ban. “When you’re standing outside and someone’s smoking around you, that second hand smoke kind of bothers you,” Angeles said.
CSULB has smoke-free locations on campus where students and faculty cannot smoke. The Child Development Center is a designated smoke-free area and so is the walkway from the library towards the student union.
As of Jan. 1, 2015, there are over one thousand 100 percent smoke-free campuses in the United States.
The taskforce meets monthly and their next meeting will take place on Feb. 27. They aim to make a decision on the campus-wide policy by the fall.