Fresno State has begun its campaign to ‘Help Clear the Air.’ As of Sept. 1, 2017, Fresno State, along with the other 22 CSU campuses, have prohibited the use of tobacco products. (Alejandro Soto/The Collegian)

Respect the smoking ban, it’s good for you

With our campus being the size that it is, it seems impossible to catch every single student or faculty member violating the recently installed smoking ban.

And while a task force has been established at Fresno State to keep students accountable, there don’t seem to be any consequences for the offense of smoking on campus.

So what are student smokers to do? How do they kick the habit – at least while on campus?

While smoking was previously limited to over two-dozen designated areas throughout campus, students are now forced to quit smoking on campus cold-turkey – and they are challenged to hold each other accountable.

With the California State University-wide smoking ban, a task force on campus led by Vice President of Administration Deborah Adishian-Astone seeks to bring awareness to students on campus who smoke and are directly affected by the new policy.

Students and members of Fresno State’s community are being asked to hold each other accountable. The task force is offering the option to report noncompliance. The goal of reporting noncompliance is likely to observe trends in smoking in banned areas, including the Save Mart Center and Bulldog Stadium.

However, while the CSU system has attempted to place a smoking ban on campuses for years, there seems to be little preparation for a policy change that affects a large population of students.

Quitting any bad habit is a tall order – especially one as addictive as using tobacco.

Is it practical of Fresno State and the CSU system, in general, to ban any and all smoking for the student population? A slow phase-out of smoking on campus with increasingly fewer outdoor smoking areas seems like the better way to go.

While the ban is anything but convenient for tobacco using students on campus, there are resources that can help in this transition.

The Student Health and Counseling Center offers services that include nicotine patches and gum, as well as counseling services that may help students quit smoking entirely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 percent of people aged 18 to 24 were reported to be smokers. The National College Health Assessment (NCHA), a study performed every year, showed the number of student smokers on campus was just over 4 percent.

While 4 percent seems like a small number, it sounds like a good portion of students on campus who are affected by this ban.

The task force is integral to the success of the “Clear the Air” campaign, student cooperation is the key to its success.

  • Vinny Gracchus

    Repeal smoking bans. Even tobacco control activists acknowledge that outdoor bans are designed to denormalize smoking and not about risks from second hand smoke. As a reminder see: Bayer, R. and Bachynski KE, “Banning Smoking In Parks And On Beaches: Science, Policy, And The Politics Of Denormalization,” Health Aff, July 2013 Vol. 32, no. 7, 1291-1298.

    Consider the majority of studies discount the risks from second hand smoke under normal conditions. For example:

    “ETS exposure was not found to significantly increase risk among never smokers in this study” and “It is now clear that the molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers is different.” Darren R Brenner, Rayjean J Hung, Ming-Sound Tsao, Frances A Shepherd, Michael R Johnston, Steven Narod, Warren Rubenstein and John R McLaughlin. Lung cancer risk in never-smokers: a population-based case-control study of epidemiologic risk factors. BMC Cancer, 2010,10:285 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-285

    Boffetta, et al: Multicenter Case-Control Study of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer in Europe, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 90, No. 19, October 7, 1998: “public indoor settings did not represent an important source of ETS exposure.” (This case-control study used data from the IARC. The period of enrollment of case and control subjects was from 1988 to 1994–16 years; IARC=International Agency for Research on Cancer.}

    In addition, this large study looked at 38 years worth of data: Enstrom, JE and Kabat, GC. Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98 BMJ 2003; 326:1057.This study found “No significant associations were found for current or former exposure to environmental tobacco smoke before or after adjusting for seven confounders and before or after excluding participants with pre-existing disease.” (This prospective study used American Cancer Society dataset.)