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“We just want to be healthier,” says Jo Buczko co-chair of the health and safety committee here on campus, “and if you ever walked behind a smoker you would know that it’s uncomfortable.”french2

Since January 2014, Pasadena City College (PCC) has enforced a new 100 percent smoke free policy which does not allow students to smoke tobacco in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Even smokeless devices like vapes are banned since they are non-regulated.

Non-smoker Wyatt Van Dyck, a sophomore at PCC, stated that he believes this is a good thing.

“It’s either all or nothing”, he said. “No one really paid attention to the designated smoking sections and smoked wherever they wanted anyways. Second hand smoke is a serious thing, and I’m happy to not be exposed to that anymore.”

Another student, Vinit Bhayani, said that he thought it was fine the way it was before, and although he does not smoke himself, his friends, who do smoke, are “pissed”, and constantly saying they need to smoke after class. This policy has stirred up a bit of controversy for smokers on campus.

“I hate the new policy”, says Rita Avedikian.“I want to know exactly how many people smoke on campus, and how many don’t. I feel discriminated against, and think they should at least have one smoking section on campus—just one.”

Smokers on campus find it inconvenient and unreasonable to completely get rid of all smoking sections. Avedikian’s request was previously thought of by the school’s health department, considering the fact that they had issued a survey to 11,904 individuals—8,212 of whom were students. Of that sample size, only 2,160 people replied, and only 21 percent of the respondents were students.

The study found that 61 percent of respondents were in favor of the new non-smoking policy, and 72 percent were in favor of the tiered citations.

PCC’s health services department is providing smoking classes called “Let’s Clear The Air: Quit Smoking Services” to help students who want to quit smoking on campus. They are providing refundable sessions, free nicotine replacement aids, and individualized plans for students who are interested in kicking their habits. However, most smokers are aware of the fact that smoking is harmful to your health, and believe it’s their choice whether their allowed to smoke or not.

Nevertheless, Jo Buzcko said that this is definitely a permanent change. The only way it can change is that it will take the next step and turn into a tobacco-free campus, she said. Smokers have thus far abandoned their previous smoking spots on campus and found places near campus to have their nicotine fix. One of the popular ones is the sidewalk on campus near the staff parking lot on Bonnie. Others are near Burger King or Starbucks. Smokers can be seen lined up in groups on the sidewalk having their own smoke breaks. Which begs the question: is PCC’s attempt at helping students have a healthier environment and lifestyle working, or is it just pushing smokers onto the sidewalks?

 

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