Students voice opinion on ban


Luis Garcia

Varied opinions swirl around the proposed ban. Voting will take place in the spring.

Luis Garcia, Photographer

After the Bakersfield College Organized and United for Good Health Committee (B-COUGH) unveiled a tobacco-free campus initiative, some BC students expressed their opinions on the issue, which will be left up to students to decide by voting on the InsideBC website during the first two weeks of the 2013 spring semester.

All students interviewed agreed that the initiative would not change their smoking habits whatsoever and that it is a big inconvenience for such a simple act.

“I don’t think they should target people because of a habit they have,” said BC student Jake Gordon. “We do things to put up with other peoples habits why can’t they put up with ours? There are a lot of things people do that just don’t sit well with other people, so smoking shouldn’t be an issue.”

After learning about B-COUGH’s advertisement for students to quit smoking altogether, Gordon believes B-COUGH should be helping people, not forcing them to do what they think is right. “If they are going to accommodate people they should accommodate the other party as well. Smokers should be accommodated just like non-smokers. If they want to put something in for them they should put something in for us if they want to be fair. If not, they can just take it all away and have that kind of leadership.”

Nursing major Jamie Harmon and animal science major Tahirah Hill feel that the initiative will hinder their scholastic performance on many levels.

“It’s [smoking] helping me lower my stress levels to go into a class and focus better and if I have to go off campus that’s going to make me late for a class,” said Harmon.

“We’re trying to get our education like everybody else. Just because we smoke and others don’t shouldn’t be enough of a reason to ban it. Now they’re just singling us out because of a personal choice we have made in our lives,” said Hill.

Harmon and Hill pride themselves in being responsible smokers and believe that’s all it takes to keep smokers and non-smokers satisfied.

“We already have our designated smoking areas…we’re not in the middle of walk ways where everyone can catch second hand smoke,” said Harmon. “I don’t smoke around kids. I immediately put it out,” said Hill.

Raquel Gallegos, criminal justice major, admits she doesn’t smoke often and agrees with B-COUGH’s efforts to follow in the footsteps of the University of California school system. “I don’t smoke a lot so it won’t really affect me. People don’t throw their cigarette butts away, if they do it’s usually on the floor and it makes the campus look ugly.

“Some parents have their kids on campus too and little kids are around it. I don’t think that’s right either.”

Ray Salazar, American Sign Language major, was asked how he would adjust to the change.

“I would quit. School, not smoking,” he jokingly said. “No, I wouldn’t quit. But I don’t know what I would do. I don’t think it’s lucrative for them to ban it. First of all, we’re already outside. Second, there are some sections over by my ASL class I didn’t know you couldn’t smoke by the building. Someone let me know so I don’t smoke there anymore.”

Art major Blair Perez confesses he does not smoke, but believes Public Safety should do a better job of enforcing smoking regulations.

“There’s nothing wrong with the current rules,” said Perez. “However, I do think security officers should put more effort into enforcing the existing guidelines. I personally have never seen security tell a student to put out their cigarette. Ever.

“Even if they see people smoking where they shouldn’t be. If students on either side of the issue mind that much then they will go out and vote for whatever they think is right.”

Juan Contreras explains, smoking ban or not, it’s going to take more than that to stop him from lighting up on campus.

“I will still probably smoke on campus, I’m not going to lie. Nothing will change except my location of smoking,” Contreras said after taking a drag from his cigarette. “I smoke near an exit all the time. There’s one right there not even 15 feet away. No one really says anything.”