Bakersfield College’s smoking policy still a work in progress

Darlene Mangrum, Reporter


The smoking policy is still pending a decision by the Kern Community College District board.

In spring of 2013, Bakersfield College’s students and staff members voted on a designated-smoking campus or a tobacco-free campus. The tobacco-free campus won the vote by both students and staff.

Last year the paperwork was filed and taken to the district board of trustees where it was postponed until a later date because the paperwork was not specific about BC being a smoke-free or a tobacco-free campus.

According to Chris Hine from the KCCD’s legal department, there is a difference between smoke-free and tobacco free. Hine said “smoke-free means no smoking at all, meaning no E-cigs, vapors or tobacco products. Whereas tobacco-free just means tobacco products.” Hine is not sure, but he believes that new paperwork may need to be filed if BC wants both a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus.

According to Cindy Collier, the dean of the Nursing/Allied Health Department of Bakersfield College, her and the SGA president Alex Dominguez are planning to bring the subject up at the next meeting with the KCCD administrative board on Oct. 9.

Collier said, “ I prefer to have a complete, smoke-free campus, but I will be happy with a tobacco-free campus and gladly take baby steps for anything more.”

Collier also said she would like to start a website that will educate on tobacco and cessation of it, so that people can see the damage that smoking does to the health of a person’s body and either quit or not start smoking at all.

She believes that most college students are at the perfect age to learn about the health damages, “between the ages of 19 and 24 is usually when a person decides if they are going to be lifetime smokers or not.” Collier said, “If we can help just five people out of 100 to quit smoking then we have done our job.”

Dominguez agreed with Collier about educating BC students on the health issues caused by smoking and wants to help students quit or never start smoking.

Dominguez would like to re-address the board about BC being a smoke-free campus. Because he is a board trustee, it should be a lot easier to push the proposal through this time around.

Dominguez is going to address the proposal as a campus choice proposal to have a smoke-free, tobacco free, or designated smoking area campus. By doing this other colleges’ students and staff can vote on their particular college’s own smoking policies.

“If this proposal passes, we are going to educate our students for the first three years about health issues from smoking, after that we are going to start a citation policy,” he said “With the citations a person will get a warning first, second a small fine and for every time after that the price of the fine will go up, the fine legally can be as high as $100.”