Editorial: Stomp out three remaining smoking sections

Scott Buffon, Associate Editor

Only three smoking sections stand in the way of City College becoming a smoke-free campus. The Channels says: Get rid of them.

At the College Planning Council meeting on Tuesday, April 2, a proposal was made to eradicate the remaining designated smoking sections on campus. These are located in front of the Garvin Theatre, on the terrace outside of Physical Science Building Room-101 and between the Humanities and East Campus Classroom buildings.  The only safe haven for smokers would be in their car, according to the proposal.

Already, more than 1,100 colleges in the U.S. are smoke-free. More than 40 campuses in California have gone this route, nearly 90 percent of which are community colleges.

City College should be included in this majority of California community colleges, and this proposal must pass for the health of all City College students and faculty.

“I was stunned when I came on campus and found that we had smoking areas,” said Superintendent-President Dr. Lori Gaskin at the meeting. “… This degrades the campus so much.”

These areas enable smokers with their nicotine addiction by offering a designated area.

The proposal is still a rough outline, as no repercussion for those caught smoking on campus has been established.

A fine enforced by campus security would be a realistic deterrent that would complement cigarette sin tax that already makes smoking an expensive habit.

Although ostracizing the smokers to designated areas is sensible, smoke still affects the asthmatic or allergy-prone students.

This secondhand smoking can be just as dangerous as lighting one up yourself.  With every drag of a cigarette you are releasing 40 known carcinogens into the air.

But don’t worry, I’m sure nobody else minds.

The smoking areas undeniably create a strong sense of community within the subculture. If you have ever seen the smoking areas, you’re prone to see a bevy of smokers enjoying themselves. The strongest argument to keep the designated smoking areas has to be founded on this strong sense of unity it creates among the students.

This being said, student bonds cannot be prioritized over the health deficits smoking creates, especially when it harms student and faculty health. We’re at a college; we should be able to make friends without inhaling tar into our lungs.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 443,000 deaths result from cigarettes every year in the United States.  The choice to smoke results in more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.

Smokers need to recognize that cigarettes are an inherently unhealthy compulsion.

City College has recognized this and offers a Tobacco Cessation program through The Health Services center. The program offers a variety of outlets for those who want to quit smoking, including nicotine gum.

The council will decide soon whether to keep the smoking sections. Although a date has not been set for the vote. The dirty, littered ground covered in extinguished cigarette butts isn’t a particularly wonderful sight to see on our beautiful campus.

 

This editorial was written by opinion editor Scott Buffon and reflects the opinion of the Channels editorial board.