After receiving three warnings for smoking on campus, culinary arts student Paul Zion has been barred from registering for winter quarter until he meets with Rhonda Coats, the vice president for student services.
“I have achieved my goal and will finally be able to talk with someone of importance that will listen. The down side is that having achieved this goal I will now have to adhere to the policy set forth by SPSCC and quit smoking on campus.”
Since the SPSCC smoking ban went into effect fall quarter, passed by the student senate and the board of trustees, after years of problem assessment which looked at a number of solutions including the use of smoking shelters.
Zion disagrees with the severity of the new policy and said that while banning cigarettes may be the politically correct thing to do in our society, it’s not right.
“We have a right to our vices just as much as students who get their caffeine buzz from energy drinks,” he said.
According to Zion, any student who raises issue with the littering of cigarette butts should take a long look at the campus and see that food and drink litter is more prevalent.
The ban may have an adverse effect to the environment and neighboring houses that surround SPSCC.
At any given time you can find many students lined up along the sidewalks immediately surrounding the campus to smoke in between classes. Those sidewalks are now littered with cigarette butts because students no longer have proper disposal bins for them, according to Zion.
The one exception to the ban is the use of tobacco inside privately owned vehicles on campus.
“No one is willing to address the issue of what students that do not drive to the campus in their own vehicle are supposed to do if they want to smoke and do not have time to walk off campus in between classes,” said Zion in his submission to The Sounds.
Zion said many of his friends agree with his point of view and believe the way the ban is executed is unfair.
“Don’t 86 every bit of it,” said Zion, referring to the drastic nature of the ban.
Many smokers would be willing to make donations to cover the cost of a smoking shelter.
Another possibility discussed by Zion and his friends is the use of a smoking permit in which students could pay $25 to $30 for a permit that would allow them to smoke on campus.
Currently students face repercussions that include being warned for a first time offense, to the more serious punishment of a $100 fine.
Douglas Swift, a security officer at SPSCC, said most smokers are very cooperative with the new ban. Students and faculty are a big force in getting students to stop smoking when they see it happening on campus.
Unfortunately, reported smokers get away with violating the ban because by the time security officers arrive the cigarette is already finished, according to Swift.
During Zion’s first offense his student ID was taken by Officer Mike McCloskey. Zion said the officer was respectful and just doing his job.
Some students see health benefits of the ban. “I am fine with the ban if they would enforce it. I go to my car, but I see a lot of people down on the bridge smoking and that’s wrong. It hasn’t affected me as a student. I’m not stressed out because I can’t smoke. In fact, I smoke less now,” said student Samantha Marsden Miller.
SPSCC student, Matthew Shrader, said he knows of students who are struggling with asthma and how the new smoking ban has improved their health and comfort on campus. Second hand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are cancer causing, according to the Center for Disease Control.
In addition, the CDC lists second hand smoke as the culprit for approximately 3,400 deaths due to lung cancer annually in the United States.
This causes an issue for all health conscious students, but especially for those who are immune deficient or already at risk.