Uncertainty surrounds smoking ban

In Campus News, News
Students smoke behind the Humanities building. Some students have said they thought the area was an appropriate space to smoke. (Amanda Sharp / Daily Titan)
Students smoke behind the Humanities building (Amanda Sharp / Daily Titan)

Nearly every day classes are in session at Cal State Fullerton, puffs of smoke fill the air from multiple students gathered outside the Humanities Building to smoke cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

It’s been a common scene for multiple semesters despite the fact that a smoking ban was implemented on campus nearly two years ago, in August 2013.

Smokers on campus haven’t been given tickets, they haven’t been fined and they haven’t been put on probation for smoking violations.

Rather, Cal State Fullerton has relied on a system of outreach efforts by using organized groups of students to spread information about the ban and about various smoking cessation programs, said Christopher Bugbee, a media relations officer for CSUF.

Programs such as the Fresh Air Advocate program have been in place since the ban began.

The peer enforcement program uses a dedicated group of students who walk the campus, take notes about smoking violations and distribute materials such as gum packets and brochures, Bugbee said.

The university spent roughly $30,000 during the first year of the ban, a number that then fell to $15,000 during the current academic year.

The initial expenditures included startup costs for the program to put up campus signage and provide a web link for students to report instances of smoking violations, John Beisner, director of risk management for the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, said in an email.

From the start of the 2015 until April 8, 11 smoking violations have been reported on the website. More than 70 violations have been reported over the near-two year period the website has been available to students.

Beisner said such methods have proven effective, but declined to elaborate about how.

Daniel Contreras, 20, a music major, is one of many students who smoke outside the Humanities Building. He said he has never been approached by a Fresh Air Advocate.

Contreras isn’t alone. All student smokers interviewed on a single day in the area behind Humanities said they had never been told they couldn’t smoke behind Humanities.

Contreras comes to the back of the Humanities building on a daily basis to enjoy a cigarette and the area can get busy when he’s there; on a regular basis he’ll see anywhere between five and 20 people lighting up, he said.

Kevin Tran, 23, an English major said he finds the smoking ban regulations unclear and thinks the area behind Humanities is an appropriate location to smoke, since it doesn’t appear that anyone enforces the ban there.

“At first I was kind of iffy because I thought it was banned and that they would regulate it or something,” Tran said. “But after a while, smoking by myself, I thought, ‘I don’t think they really care.’”

Tran said he asked other smokers behind Humanities if it was OK to smoke and was assured by students and teachers alike that it was OK and that the ban was not enforced.

Reyes Fidalgo, Ph.D., a Spanish professor and chair of the department of Modern Languages and Literature, said she is not against a ban but opposes the ambivalence of officials when it comes to enforcement.

When the ban was first being proposed by the Academic Senate, Fidalgo stood against it when others said it would be beneficial to students and staff. She said she worried about the funding of the ban and its effectiveness. The ban was ultimately approved unanimously by the Senate.

“My main concern then was I did not see how we could reinforce the ban,” Fidalgo said. “To do that, first of all, you cannot just punish the people; you have to give them programs that make them aware of the dangers of smoking.”

Fidalgo, who said she would like to see a clearer enforcement body in place for the ban, has stood against proposed enforcement alternatives, such as probation for students who are caught smoking, she said.

Fidalgo believes that for the ban to be effective, there needs to be a conversation about what could make it better and follow through to make it happen.

“If we went so far as to put this together, what are we going to do next?” Fidalgo said. “Because to have it only in title, makes no sense.”

Beisner, who took more than a month and a half to answer questions directly after first sending the Daily Titan to Media Relations Director Christopher Bugbee, declined to answer Daily Titan questions about whether there is a need for expansion of programs as well as questions specific to the situation behind Humanities.

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  • Jack Listerio

    To me the statement simply says look we cant prove nothing about smoking and we sure cant prove anything about vaping. So we are like back to a square hole with nothing but round dowels. Nothing fits

  • Jack Listerio

    OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”

    OSHA SAFE LEVELS

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  • Jack Listerio

    Colleges being forced to go smokefree by Obama Administration

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an initiative to ban smoking from college campuses last month. This is part of the HHS goal to create a society free of tobacco-related disease and death, according to their action plan released by the HHS in 2010.

    Colleges who fail to enact campus-wide smoking bans and other tobacco-free policies may soon face the loss of grants and contracts from the HHS, according to the plan. Western receives grants through a subdivision of the HHS called the National Institutes of Health, Acting Vice Provost for Research Kathleen Kitto said.

    Obama administration to push for eliminating smoking on college campuses

    President Barack Obama has already promised not to smoke cigarettes in the White House. If his administration has its way, American college students will soon be required to follow suit while they’re on campus.

  • CyZane

    $30 000 to put up some signs and a web link for a useless ban that isn’t even enforced? I think I am in the wrong business.

  • SMH2much

    Yo college intellectuals. It’s unconstitutional to ban the constitutional rights of individuals. Try appreciating the courtesy they offer by their willingness to compromise for YOUR comfort, even though you refuse to offer courtesy back.

  • SMH2much

    Now, do tell, why are big Pharma’s little foot soldiers marching around pushing drugs on innocent people? “The peer enforcement program uses a dedicated group of students who walk the campus, take notes about smoking violations and distribute materials such as gum packets and brochures, Bugbee said.”

  • Jared K

    Why spend money when they could be writing fines and generating revenue?

  • Gregory Weisberg

    Finally, real reporting at the Daily Titan! One thought, maybe ask students about the use of “smoking zones” similar to what is employed at disneyland? Seems a better use of student money…

  • SMH2much

    My point confirmed.

  • Vinny Gracchus

    Perhaps, but neither is a “smokefree” environment. Smoking bans were justified on alleged health risk from second hand smoke. Those risks do not actually exist. Denying a liberty (I suggest you research the difference between a right and liberty before you advocate denying liberty) on a false premise does deny constitutionally protected interests; review the IX Amendment for a start; also both IV and XIV Amendment considerations could be argued. Some of these have been argued against, but definitive rulings have not been sustained. But beware, the views of courts do change–I suspect you recall the Dred Scott Decision for example, and remember the Civil Rights movement and the Current marriage Equity movement. Positions change over time; but arguing hat a positive right does not exist when coercing others to accept your restrictions is a prima facie denial of liberty.