No more designated smoking areas. No more smoking on campus at all – not twenty feet away from a building, not in the parking lot, not even in your own car.
Interim President Willie J. Hagan signed President’s Directive No. 18 in May, establishing a smoke-free policy at Cal State Fullerton.
The idea of making CSUF’s campuses smoke-free began with a questionnaire within the Academic Senate, which asked about the possibility. The Academic Senate, joined by ASI approved and sent out a recommendation for the policy. Hagan’s signature codified the recommendation into university policy.
The smoke-free policy, effective Aug. 1, 2013, will ban smoking on any part of CSUF, including outdoor areas, residence halls, parking structures and private vehicles.
Behind the policy
Among the concerns addressed by the new policy are secondhand smoke, cigarette butts, wayward ashes, pollution, smoke seeping into buildings and peoples’ health in general, said Jack Bedell, Ph.D., Academic Senate Chair.
The cost of the policy is estimated at roughly $10,000, according to Bedell. The money would pay for the policy’s implementation, smoking cessation programs, information campaigns and signs.
“It’s not gonna be an expensive thing,” he said. “It’s gonna be a collaborative process — lots of discussion (about the specifics of the policy).”
In the long run, the policy could even save the school money.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking cessation programs become cost-neutral or even cost-saving after a period of five years.
The CDC said that by helping employees quit smoking, the school could save on healthcare and life insurance costs. Cessation also helps by reducing employee absenteeism and increasing productivity.
Dean of Students Lea Jarnagin, Ed.D., said that the new policy is less about punishment and enforcement and more of a “cultural shift” in the mindset of CSUF students and staff.
The societal norm in the United States is trending away from smoking and toward better health, she said, and that the policy will reflect that.
Jarnagin recalled widespread change in the acceptability of smoking, from indoor smoking to smoking sections to a ban on indoor smoking — even in bars. Banning smoking on university grounds, she said, was just the next logical step, though it is a massive change for smokers at CSUF.
“Coming from a smoking family myself, I know that the decision to quit smoking is a big one,” she said.
The best way to ensure that the change goes as smoothly as possible is to focus on spreading awareness about the new policy changes, as well as support those struggling to quit smoking with cessation programs, Jarnagin said.
“We are not relying on anything draconian like police to enforce anything,” Bedell said. “The enforcement will be part of the culture… no police will be jumping into people’s cars in the parking garage and that kind of stuff.”
Informal peer pressure would be more effective than strict punitive measures, Bedell said.
Through the smoke
“Since I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s hard for me to project, but I would not be at all surprised (if more schools and establishment adopted no-smoking policies),” said Jarnagin. “It’s never without pain, though… change is coming.”
Such major societal changes tend affect the broader community, leading to something as momentous as having a smoke-free school, she said.
CSUF student John Vo, undeclared, said he thought the change was positive. The new policy wouldn’t affect him since he doesn’t smoke.
“I guess (smokers) are going to have to find somewhere else to smoke,” Vo said.
Though CSUF will be the first CSU to adopt a smoke-free policy, it will not be the only state university to do so. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 10-school University of California system will be adopting smoke-free policies similar to CSUF’s by 2014.