OPINION: Campus smoking policy too lenient

The College of the Desert smoking policy could use improvement, non-restricted smoking could be a danger to students 

by Sharlah Lotze
Staff Reporter 

It is an accepted fact that smoking is bad for you. And not only is it bad for the person actually smoking, but it affects the people around the smoker as well.  College of the Desert is a campus where most people in attendance are semi-educated at the least.

So, why is COD allowing smoke to fill any and all outdoor open spaces? Most colleges have adopted a smoke-free campus, such as California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert (CSUSB-PDC).  According to their campus smoking policy, “The purpose of this policy is to promote a healthy educational and work environment for all members of the CSUSB community.”  University of California, Irvine has a similar policy in place, part of which states, “there is now conclusive evidence that non-smokers who are regularly exposed to passive (second-hand) tobacco smoke are also at increased risk of illness. Passive tobacco smoke appears to be especially deleterious to the health of certain population groups, including the elderly, children, and persons with allergies, asthma, respiratory diseases or cardiovascular disease. It is necessary, therefore, to protect the UCI population from this substantiated hazard.”

According to COD’s campus smoking policy, as long as the smoker is outside and not within 20 feet of a main entrance, they are free to light up.  “I think it’s disgusting.  I hate walking to class and having smoke blown all over me,” says Krystal Lopez, a student at COD. Carl Whitfield, another student, states, “I am a smoker, but I agree that smoke needs to be only in designated areas.  I never smoke in populated areas. I usually stay in the parking lot.”

Something  that COD offers its students is counseling services, and part of those services includes smoking cessation.  Tobacco Smoke is considered a group “A” carcinogen, which means it is the most deadly.  If a student is taking at least one unit at COD, they are eligible for services though the Psychological Services.  This is one route students can take to better their experiences on campus.  Another is to get involved. Write letters or start a petition if the policies in place are not up to par.

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