CSU extinguishes tobacco use

Senior Art Major, Emily Redondo, smokes a cigarette in the designated smoking area outside of the Conley Art Building on April 25, 2017. (Christian Ortuno/ The Collegian)

Cigarettes, vape products, chewing tobacco and any other tobacco products intended for human consumption will be banned from all 23 California State University (CSU) campuses beginning Sept. 1, 2017 under an executive order by CSU Chancellor Timothy White.

“In order to provide the California State University’s faculty, staff, students, guests and the public with campuses that support the principle of one’s individual freedom to learn, teach, work, think and take part in their intellectual endeavors in a fulfilling, rewarding, safe and healthy environment, the creation and implementation of a ‘smoke and tobacco free’ policy systemwide is necessary and welcome,” reads a portion of Executive Order 1108.

Deborah Adishian-Astone, vice president for administration and associate vice president for auxiliary services, met with the president’s cabinet last Monday to begin a task force that will enforce the order next semester.

“[Under the executive order] we require that all campuses be smoke and tobacco product free in all of our buildings and areas on campus, including any facilities we may lease,” Adishian-Astone said.

The ban will affect university areas from Shaw to Sierra avenues and Bulldog Stadium to Campus Pointe. The Save Mart Center will also be under the ban, as well the current designated smoking areas around.

“Anything we operate and occupy from a university or auxiliary standpoint would be applicable to the executive order,” Adishian-Astone said.

The implementation process will require task forces to be set up at every CSU campus and at the systemwide level. The task force will be open to any interested faculty, staff and students.

During the planning time, the groups will establish rules and regulations pertaining to the upcoming ban. The plans include assistance for current smokers and a protocol for those caught smoking in a restricted area.

The policies set for Fresno State will reflect the instructions given by the CSU, but policies may vary across all campuses.

There are several CSU campuses that have already been tobacco free, including CSU Fullerton, San Diego State, San Jose State and Sonoma State.

The news of the ban made for mixed emotions across campus and on social media, where students were in support and against the ban.

Travis Childress, a political science major who smokes at the designated area across from the Engineering Building, he said the negatives of the new order will outweigh the positives.

“We’re turning the police officers on campus into ‘smoking patrol people,’” Childress said. “So all they’re going to be doing now instead of looking for people getting sexually assaulted and cars being broken into — [will be] policing smokers now.”

He also said that the ban will cause some smokers to break the rules and secretly smoke in other areas on campus that could be hazardous.

“Smokers, in general, will find a way to smoke because it is an addictive substance,” Childress said. “It was not very well thought through.”

Justin Baradin, a junior computer science major who vapes at the designated smoking areas, said he believes that the executive order is overly controlling to current smokers.

“I don’t really think it’s designed to benefit the health aspect,” Baradin said.

Childress and Baradin say they understand the health issues smoking can cause to those around them. Their own solution would be for the designated smoking stations to be away from the general public.

They also said that smoking areas provide an opportunity for different students to socialize.

“We’re actually having legitimate discussions. This is one of the few places you can actually go on campus and speak to a myriad of different people,” Childress said. “You speak to people you would never really talk to otherwise. It’s really conducive to the academic environment.”

Students who closely study health find the executive order to be very beneficial to the campus.

Kacey Jones, a junior kinesiology major, aid that the ban will encourage more people to be aware about the health risks of smoking.

“I think it will be a positive effect on campus,” she said. “Some people will be upset about it, but it may help some people quit their addiction.”

As an advocate for health, Jones said she feels support for the smoking ban will gain momentum on campus.

“This is a huge win for us, because we can only tell people so many times, ‘Don’t smoke or use tobacco because it will affect your health in a negative way,” Jones said. “Now having the chancellor and the university on our side, it shows that they are taking that next step in making campus a healthier environment.”

Rosalinda Barba, a Fresno State alum who studied public health, said that Chancellor White’s decision will benefit the campus.

“I would hold my breath as I walked by all the smokers, which really irritated me. Many other students probably did that too, so I guess that will be coming to an end,” Barba said. “Students will get to walk through campus breathing easily.”

Barba also said she understands that the change will be difficult for those who smoke, but hopes the university will implement resources to help them.

“I think this is a great way to start the ongoing and never-ending conversation about the risks of smoking, and, hopefully, Fresno State can provide resources for students who wish to quit smoking,” Barba said. “We have one body, and we need to try our very best to take care of it.”

Adishian-Astone said that all the rules and regulations will be established and in use by early next semester.

“We want to be sensitive to the change to our campus community and really want to do as much as we can through education and communication relative to compliance with this executive order as much as possible,” Adishian-Astone said.

Adishian-Astone said anyone interested in being part of the task force may contact her or University Provost Lynnette Zelezny.

Reporter Jessica Johnson contributed to this story.

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