ASI responds to students’ smoking complaints

Cal State Long Beach may be next on the growing list of more than 800 campuses nationwide that ban cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Cal State Fullerton’s decision to become a smoke-free campus in August 2013, along with the commitment of all nine University of California campuses to become smoke- and tobacco-free within the next two years, has sparked discussions among members of the Statewide Academic Senate and the California State Student Association (CSSA), according to Jonathon Bolin, vice president of Associated Students Inc.

Bolin said he has heard a lot of students complain about smoking policies on campus and smokers’ lack of adherence to those policies. In response to student concerns, ASI Senators plan to vote on a resolution this week to place a smoke-free referendum on the spring ballot for students to vote on.

Senator-at-large Manuel Nieto authored the resolution, which, if passed, would add the smoke-free referendum to the spring ASI ballot. He said the resolution was written because ASI understands that very little has been done to address student complaints.

“I want to give students the option to be heard on the issue, and we feel this is the best way to show the administration what it is the students want,” Nieto said.

According to Nieto, if students pass the referendum, it will not change the policy just yet. The purpose of the vote is to show President F. King Alexander what students want so that administration can then adjust policy to satisfy student needs.

Senior social work major Jose Duarte said that as a non-smoker, he would vote in favor of the ban.

“It just seems strange that institutions of higher education would support smoking in the first place, seeing as it is one of the leading causes of death in this country,” Duarte said.

Some students, however, do not see a problem with smoking on campus as long as the rules are followed.

Senior international studies major Morgan Barrett said she would be against a smoking ban but would like it if smokers stayed within the designated smoking areas on campus.

“I really hate it when I’m walking and the person in front of me is blowing smoke in my face,” Barrett said.

Some are not so optimistic about the ease of turning CSULB into a smoke-free campus. Senator David Rose from the College of Health and Human Services said he does not think a majority vote is likely.

“It’s like asking every student who drives a car to stop driving because it pollutes the air and gives you cancer,” Rose said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

The resolution will be discussed on its first and second reading on Wednesday, according to Nieto.

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