Smoking is a problem, no butts about it

In recent years, it has become a trend for colleges to ban smoking on their campuses. In a report done by The American Journal of College Health, it was found that around 81 percent of higher learning institutions have banned smoking in public areas. In addition, a state law (AB 846) was recently signed into effect, which, among other things, extends smoke-free zones around buildings and windows on community college campuses from 5 to 20 feet. This law will take effect in January.

We at the Skyline View feel that heading in the direction of a smoke-free campus is the way to go. Not only is smoking a distraction to the learning environment, it is also a major annoyance to those who choose not to pollute their bodies with deadly toxins. In addition, the 15 foot rule, which says that smokers cannot smoke cigarettes within 15 feet of any building or window, is not enforced at Skyline. Students continue to smoke in front of building entrances with no regards to signs. Maybe banning smoking altogether is the only way to ensure that non-smokers have their right to breathe clean air, so that they do not have to intake second hand smoke.

We understand that many Skyline students smoke, and we understand that banning smoking right away may be asking a little much at first. But campus smoking policies, as they stand now, present several problems. The rules and regulations put forth by the administration are not taken seriously. People smoke much nearer than 15 feet from buildings and windows, forcing non-smokers to have to walk through groups of smokers “looming” around building entrances in order to get to class.

Instead of increasing the smoke-free distance around buildings and windows, perhaps creating a specific smoking area is something the Skyline administration should invest in. Doing this would be a better way to ensure that, at least in some way, everyone can exercise their rights. This is also a way for non-smokers to know what areas of the campus to avoid.

If completely banning smoking is not an option, and a specified smoking area will not work, another option is giving tickets to those people who do not respect the rule of smoking a certain distance from buildings and windows. Much like parking in the temporary lot and being ticketed, these people would have to learn to abide by the rules or pay the price.

No matter what action the administration chooses to take in this situation, something needs to be done. One of three things needs to happen: existing rules need to be enforced, new rules need to be made to fix the problem, or smoking needs to be banned altogether. Whatever the route, it needs to be fixed.