Since the implementation of Cal State Fullerton’s smoking ban last summer, university officials say the amount of smoking on campus has been “significantly reduced,” but they acknowledge that there is still more to be done.
One unintended consequence of the smoking ban and subsequent removal of ashtrays around campus seems to be a fair amount of cigarette butt litter in planters, parking lots, outside buildings, on walkways and, ironically enough, near “no smoking” signs.
The smoking ban prohibits smoking in buildings, parking structures and all outdoor areas owned, leased or rented by the university.
But the policy has not put a complete stop to smoking on campus. A casual stroll around the school reveals that there are still plenty of people lighting up or taking drags off of their electronic cigarettes or vaporizer pens, which are also banned by the policy.
“There is still much education to be done and additional methods to reduce and eliminate smoking on campus will be reviewed and discussed as the implementation proceeds,” said Curtis Plotkin, director of Environmental Health and Safety at CSUF.
Dean of Students Tonantzin Oseguera, Ph.D., said overall, students have had a positive reaction to the smoking restrictions.
“More students have expressed relief and gratitude for not having to encounter smoke while walking on campus and especially at entrances of campus buildings,” she said in an email.
The policy is not without its critics. Frank Perez, a 28-year-old sociology graduate student, said he does not think people will stop smoking because of the policy. Instead, it will just make them find somewhere else to smoke.
Perez also said CSUF should allow people to use e-cigarettes. Some believe the devices to be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
“If they want to advocate for smoking cessation, that is one method for it,” he said.
However, it is still unclear if e-cigarettes are in fact a safe alternative to cigarettes. A Food and Drug Administration analysis found traces of toxic chemicals and cancer-causing carcinogens in samples from two popular brands.
Dr. Lowell Dale with the Mayo Clinic recommends staying away from e-cigarettes until more is known about the risks.
Perez said if the school is interested in improving the overall health of the school, then more steps beyond a no-smoking policy need to be taken.
“If they’re going to try to curb health problems, I think they need to attack more egregious things, which would be putting more healthy food alternatives on campus,” he said.
If a smoker is spotted on campus, he or she can be reported at Smoke-Free.Fullerton.edu. There is a notification form on the site that asks for the date, time and location of the incident.
The person reporting the incident can choose to make the report anonymously, and he or she also has the option of including an image.
Once a report has been filed, it is reviewed by staff in the Environmental Health and Safety department and they then move forward with whatever action they deem appropriate. Often times they provide smokers with information about the no-smoking policy and they ask them to stop smoking.
According to a CSUF representative, since the no-smoking policy has been implemented, there have been about 40 total reports.