Smoking survey creates awareness

For as long as students here at Skyline can remember smoking has been allowed on campus in designated smoking areas, however times may be changing.

Professor Ray Hernandez is concerned with the rising smoking rates among college students and the effects that smoking has on environmental exposure. In an effort to collect data about the smoking issue, Hernandez released electronic surveys to gather data on the subject.

“I have been working with this issue for many years,” said Hernandez, also a Masters of Public Health student at SFSU. “I think its time that the project began to focus on the health issue.”

According to Lori Adrian, Vice President of Student Services, the surveys were conducted in order to obtain data regarding smoking on campus that will then be used to guide the decision-making related to smoking policies and procedures. A major part of the process also includes promoting a healthy Skyline College environment as it relates to smoking.

Most people know that smoking contributes to health problems such as lung disease, heart disease, and, ultimately, cancer. These health risks not only affect the person smoking a cigarette, but also harm those in the area by giving off second hand smoke.

According to Hernandez, the reason why the assessment was conducted was so that there could be a better understanding of the prevalence and perceptions of smoking among students and faculty and to identify components of an effective policy aimed at reducing second hand smoke.

Key informants, such as the vice president of Student Services, the president of the Academic Senate, the president of the Classified Council, ASSC president, the health center nurse and the chief security officer will all be included in the process of establishing an effective way to cut down on second hand smoke.

“I see the smoking issue as a public health issue that can be most effectively addressed, especially in the long-term, through education and leadership,” said Adrian.

At press time, results of the surveys had not been released and no decisions had been made about where to go with the new policy.

“We want to make sure everyone’s rights are honored with whatever gets decided,” said Carla Campillo, a counselor for Student Services. “However, that doesn’t mean everyone will be pleased with the decision.”

Currently students and faculty are encouraged to continue using the smoking areas in the correct manner and acknowledge where they are before lighting up their next cigarette.