Editorial: Our Smoking Policy Blows


Tobacco use remains an issue here in the United States. Yet here in the Bay Area, many cities have been trying there hardest to combat it to the best of their ability.

In June, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a ban on e-cigarette sales and stop deliveries of e-cigarettes that are purchased online. The Berkeley, Fremont, and Richmond City Councils have all recently voted to ban the sale of e-cigarettes. Most recently, the San Mateo and Santa Clara County Supervisors both voted unanimously to ban selling and distributing e-cigarettes, effective as of the summer of 2020. San Mateo County already has a ban on flavored tobacco products being sold throughout the county, looking to keep teens away from consumption.

These are all tremendous efforts that puts the health and environment first, not just for smokers, but anyone who could come in contact with second-hand smoke as well.

Yet it should be addressed how Skyline College, along with the San Mateo County Community College District, it is failing to make any attempts that reflect what our Board of Supervisors are looking to push: Making San Mateo County a smoke-free environment. In order to so, Skyline College must become a smoke-free campus.

This change would have many benefits to the campus. It would seek to put an end to teen smoking, our air quality would have a slight adjustment, and fewer students would be at risk of inhaling smoke near the designated smoking areas on campus.

It should be noted that Skyline College currently has a smoke-free policy that was implemented during the fall semester of 2009. It goes hand-in-hand with the SMCCCD smoking policy where designated smoking areas are 20 feet away from entrances, windows, or air vents. SMCCCD states that their intent is to “provide a smoke-free environment to the greatest extent possible.”

The greatest extent possible? What more could possibly be done to make it a smoke-free environment? By enforcing no smoking at all.

At the time of the policy going into effect, the Skyline College campus had nine designated smoking areas. That has now been reduced to six. It’s a subtle change yet it doesn’t do enough. Additionally, most students who smoke with an e-cigarette product on campus tend to avoid these areas and partake wherever they see as best for them. This policy is clearly broken from the ground up, plus is barely put into place by Skyline faculty or staff.

This smoke-free policy put in by SMCCCD needs to have a serious overhaul, one that can tackle both the health and the environmental standards that San Mateo County is looking to hold itself to, along with the blocking teens from turning to tobacco. But for now, we should applaud San Mateo County for being one step ahead of everybody else when it comes to preventing teens from getting hooked.