Committee Deliberates Smoking Ban

Ronnie Steinitz/Guardian

The Student Wellness Department is looking to take last spring’s tightened smoking policy one step further by enacting a complete smoking ban on campus.

Last week, the Committee on Policies was formed to re-evaluate all campus health policies. According to A.S. Vice President of Student Life and member of the student advisory board to Student Wellness Ricsie Hernandez, the smoking policy is of particular concern, because current regulations —which prohibit smoking within 25 feet of any building — are often violated.

Marshall College junior Connie Yang agreed that the current smoking policy is rarely enforced.

“I don’t think students generally follow the policy,” Yang said. “I smell [cigarette smoke] everywhere, especially near the Geisel entrance.”

The university operates under the Smoke-Free Policy, which was instated in 1994 and applies to all UCSD facilities, owned or leased, regardless of location. The original policy prohibited smoking indoors, as well as within five feet of the main entrance or exit of any facility.

Those regulations were tightened last year. In Spring Quarter 2009, the ban on smoking extended from within five feet of any facility to within 25 feet.

According to Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Wellness Karen Calfas, a complete ban of smoking on campus is not a new idea. In Fall Quarter 2009, the UCSD Health Sciences campuses experimented with a one-year pilot policy that created a blanket ban on smoking at the UCSD Medical Center, Skaggs and other nearby facilities. For a smoother transition, the policy designated outdoor smoking areas for the first six months.

However, Calfas said it is unlikely the main UCSD campus will adopt the same policy anytime soon, as it is too extreme to be widely implemented.

“A completely smoke-free campus would be completely difficult and not realistic,” Calfas said.

She said the committee will instead make its immediate focus the enforcement of the current 25-foot ban, then evaluate results after a year’s time.

The committee plans to issue a survey gathering student, faculty and staff opinions on regarding on-campus tobacco use by next quarter. It will then pass an amended draft of the policy to the Office of the Chancellor.

Hernandez brought up the issue at the A.S. Council meeting last Wednesday to gauge student representatives’ position on the topic. She said the council suggested Student Wellness more widely publicize the 25-foot rule before enacting a complete ban.

“This is a dominant issue on campus, and continues to get brought up a lot,” Hernandez said. “For the most part, A.S. felt that before any strict action of strict ban to happen, the 25-foot smoking rule should be enforced.”

The student advisory board has discussed several methods of gauging campuswide opinion, including online surveys, soliciting to various organizations or creating focus groups. Surveys would be issued this Spring Quarter.

Readers can contact Andrew Tieu at [email protected].

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2320
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2320
$500
Contributed
Our Goal