Sep 21, 2018

Committee in charge to enforce smoking policy

Smoking is allowed at designated areas, but authorities
are working on continual enforcement.
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety at Fresno State is working with a group of marketing students to help improve awareness of the smoking policy on campus.

“The smoking policy on campus is that smoking is only allowed in designated areas,” manager of health and safety Lisa Kao said. “Smoking is not allowed in the buildings or anywhere else on the grounds.” Kao added that there are no penalties for repeat offenders, but they can be brought to the attention of human services or Student Affairs.

“If it’s an employee who isn’t following the policy, it can be brought to human resources,” Kao said. “If it were a student who was repeatedly not following the policy, it can be brought to the Student Affairs Department.”

“I think the main problem is with people not knowing about the policy,” Kao said. “I want to help improve awareness and to educate the campus community about the policy.”

Kao received the challenge of upholding the smoking policy when two members of the Environmental Health and Safety left, and their duties were redistributed. Kao has been in charge of the policy for about six months, she said.

Previously, University Police handled the Smoking Policy.

In 2008 an ad hoc smoking policy committee created the new policy for smoking on campus.

“I took the document that the committee created and I tried to implement their recommendations,” Kao said.

Over the past few months, Kao has improved awareness by making the smoking areas on campus more visible. All the smoking areas on campus are now adorned with green signs that reads “Smoking Area.”

Kao is now working on a campaign with a group of marketing students to help improve awareness of the policy.

“We are working on posters and brochures right now,” Kao said. “We are also working on getting a kiosk set up in non-smoking areas where many students are smoking.”

Along with this, Kao is trying to create a safe and friendly way for students to tell smokers that they are not comfortable with their presence in a non-smoking area.

“Often times individuals would like to tell someone to stop smoking, but don’t feel comfortable enough to tell them,” Kao said. “We are trying to create some kind of [card] or bookmarker that a person can hand off without creating a confrontation.”

Dyango Serrano is a senior at Fresno State and is working on the marketing campaign to improve awareness of the smoking policy with Kao.

“As a student, I didn’t know there was a smoking policy,” Serrano said. “It gets annoying when you see people smoking around you. That’s why we’re here.  You can’t tell everyone not to smoke. We want to make people aware of the policy.”

Serrano explained that the marketing group is also using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote the smoking policy.

“This is our third week working on the campaign,” Serrano said. “Our goal is to be finished by mid-November.”

The marketing group is composed of four students along with some graphic design students helping to create the posters and brochures. Serrano explained that the project is a part of a final for one of their marketing classes.

One thing that the marketing campaign is working on is improving awareness for incoming students.

“One thing we are thinking about doing is going to Dog Days to talk about the smoking policy,” Serrano added. “That’s a good way to let new students know that we have a smoking policy. The best outcome of this project would be to reduce the number of people smoking in non-smoking areas.”

Smokers on campus think it’s not possible to stop people from smoking where they want.

“I know that we’re supposed to be a smoke-free campus, except in designated areas,” 21-year-old senior Luis Sanchez said. Sanchez is an English major as well as a smoker.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s feasible to enforce a smoking policy,” Sanchez said. “How are you going to do that without upping staffing, or without paying people more?”

Sanchez also feels upset for being singled out as a smoker.

“This is a university,” Sanchez said. “Most of us are over 18. Why should we have to give up our way of relieving stress?

“There is a pub on campus,” Sanchez continued. “If people can come on campus and have a few beers to relieve stress, why should I be ostracized as a smoker?”

The smoking policy for campus can be found online at On the website, students can find the current smoking policy, along with programs to help quit smoking and a map marking all the designated smoking areas on campus.

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