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Tobacco use part of SGA agenda again

Gregory D. Cook

Gregory D. Cook

Kristin Woods gives information about tobacco use to students in the Free Speech Area on Nov. 17. Students were invited to spin a prize wheel and then quizzed on their knowledge on tobacco use facts.

Jon Nelson, Reporter

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The Student Government Association is taking steps to ensure that the issue of tobacco use is at the forefront of student consciousness at Bakersfield College.

For Fall 2011 the SGA and B-COUGH, Bakersfield Campuses Organized and United for Good Health, planned a number of events designed to educate students on the dangers of smoking and to hear student and faculty opinion on BC’s smoking policy.

Several information booths were to be set up around campus. There was a presentation on quitting and two open-mic forums on tobacco-related issues planned. The centerpiece of all this was supposed to be an online poll and vote to possibly change BC’s smoking policy.

“The student vote is the key to making this a success as we all must make every effort in getting the word out to ensure the success of achieving this goal,” said Derrick Kenner, SGA general counsel and head of B-COUGH.

The SGA had even planned events to participate in the Great American Smokeout, a national campaign that encourages people to quit smoking.

Unfortunately, most of those events have been pushed back to the spring.

“Yes, the online voting will take place during the Spring Semester during the opening week of school, all the way through the month of January,” said Kenner.

There has also been a rumor that the SGA is trying to ban smoking on campus all together.

“I heard about it, but I don’t smoke so I don’t really care,” said BC student Iraiz Bermudez.

Rumors like this, however, are nothing new. Smoking has always been a big issue on campus. There have been numerous proposals to ban smoking at BC since 2005.

“Everywhere you go, there’s smoke. You become a second-hand smoker,” said student Sally Fayes.

However, not all students feel this way.

“It’s upsetting,” said Drew Kurk, BC student. “I understand, but it’s a huge campus. If I had to be here for a few hours, I’d be upset that I couldn’t smoke.”

All of this attention on smoking is meant to coincide with Senate Bill SB 795 that goes into effect next year.

“This bill will go in effect on January 1st and it is a bill that will allow for colleges and universities to enforce their smoking policies by citing for violations of the current policy,” said Kenner. “We (B-COUGH) would like to present this to the Academic Senate along with the massive numbers of votes that come in to complete the package for next year, which is a Revised Smoking Policy as well as a way to enforce the policy.”

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Tobacco use part of SGA agenda again