Smoking issue ongoing

Kennedy Thomas, Reporter

Student Government Association President Travis Tillis has confirmed that the discussion regarding whether to proceed with a full tobacco ban on the Bakersfield College campus or implement designated smoking areas will continue during the Kern Community College District Consultation Council’s meeting on Nov. 26.  Tillis said that designated smoking areas, which KCCD is pushing for, could cost the district almost $100,000.

Last year, BC students voted for a complete tobacco ban, and members of the SGA and BC President Sonya Christian are working to see it through.

“The president supports going tobacco-free, for health reasons and, you know, where the nation is going, where everything is going,” Tillis said.  “We’re behind the times.”

BC’s current proposal would restrict most forms of nicotine use, including electronic cigarettes, but excluding “cessation product[s] specifically approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in treating nicotine or tobacco dependence,” according to the “BC Tobacco Free Campus” proposal that was issued on Oct. 15.

Tillis assured that a full ban was making progress.  Despite the wishes of the SGA and the majority of participants in last year’s poll, however, the final decision rests with the KCCD.

“There has been progress, and [the meeting’s] going to be the determining factor if the district is going to change their language,” Tillis said.

SGA Legislative Liaison Shelby Sward said that the SGA plans to reach out to students before the meeting in order to gain support, inviting them to come to the meeting along with SGA executive board members and senators.

Tillis, a sitting member on the council, will be giving a presentation at the meeting designed to outline the benefits of a tobacco-free policy for students.  Tillis stressed that the SGA is acting not in their own interests, but rather in the interests of the majority of the student body.

“The students have spoken, and they want a smoke-free campus,” Tillis said.