Fresno State students Debbie Sayachack and Sanjay Soundarajan smoking cigarettes in a previously designated smoking area in front of the McKee Fisk Building on Aug. 31, 2017. As of Sept. 1 tobacco products are banned from all California State University campuses. (Alejandro Soto/The Collegian)

No punishment for tobacco ban violation

Although tobacco is now banned at Fresno State and the entire California State University system, there are currently no specific punishment for those who may violate the rule.

The ban came as an executive order announced by CSU chancellor Timothy White in the spring 2017 semester.

It did not go into effect until until Sept. 1 to give campus officials time to create a task force that would help with the implementation process, said Vice President of Administration Deborah Adishian-Astone.

The Fresno State task force is composed of students, staff and faculty and led by Adishian-Astone.

She said the goal of the task force is to get the campus community fully aware of the ban.

“Our primary focus has really been more about the messaging and communication,” Adishian-Astone said.

The task force collaborated on a marketing plan for the ban as well as resources for those who use tobacco.

“It will be an ongoing effort that we will continue to monitor and communicate ensuring that we will be compliant,” Adishian-Astone said.

She said the university will enforce the ban through communication and awareness among campus members.

“Even though the executive order allows for enforcement by each campus, we’re trying to do more initially with education and peer-to-peer information so that so that we don’t go straight towards enforcement,” Adishian-Astone said.

There’s an option to report any noncompliance on campus on Fresno State’s website. The form states that the information provided will be used to track trends and patterns of tobacco use on campus.

“Help Clear The Air” posters have gone up around campus and the Student Health and Counseling Center is offering different options for those who may want to quit.

Kathy Yarmo, who is the coordinator of health promotion and wellness services is an active member of the task force, said that every year the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) performs a study at Fresno State.

In spring of 2016 seven-thousand students were chosen in a random sample with a 22 percent response rate.

“Just over four percent of the college population here at Fresno State smoke or have used tobacco in the last 30 days. So we know it’s a very small population,” Yarmo said.

The center sells nicotine patches and gum in the pharmacy and offers counseling services on campus. The Fresno State website also offers more information on the ban as well as smoking cessation programs around the community.

“Regardless of whether you smoke or not, you’re part of the Fresno State community,” Yarmo said. “We’re not here to be adversarial, we’re here to be supportive.”

Smokers will also get small cards handed to them.

The front has a reminder that states: “Fresno State is a tobacco-free, smoke-free and vapor-free campus.” The back of the card is a coupon for a free tall house coffee from the Henry Madden Library Starbucks.

Yarmo encourages students to advocate for the tobacco ban. She said support and encouragement is very beneficial in helping someone quit.

“I would not encourage anybody to confront somebody,” Yarmo said. “We’re here as part of a community and as a community you look out for one another.”

The Collegian contacted the Fresno State police department but they did not respond by deadline.

Staff writer Hayley Salazar contributed to this story.