Smoking still caught up in flames

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

The smoking policy on the Bakersfield College campus continues to be a matter of contention. Confusion and misinformation abound as to what, exactly, the hard and fast rules regarding what and where is acceptable for smokers on campus, or even if smoking on campus is still permitted, not just on the BC campus, but on any California college campus. On Feb. 1, the Bakersfield College Student Government Association Committee for Advancement again brought the smoking policy front and center on their agenda.
Rumors and assertions have occasionally grown into all-out conflicts as students and faculty try to sort out what’s allowed and what isn’t, but for the present, Public Safety is authorized to enforce no rules beyond state law, which maintains that all lit smoking materials must be kept more than twenty feet away from any door or window on any occupied building.
Recently, Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) introduced California Assembly Bill 1594, which proposes to speed up the enforcement of California college campus smoking bans. In 2014, a program was implemented to ease college administrations toward banning smoking on their campuses outright, and McCarty would like to see progress on the policy.
A quorum of student senators discussed the current state of the smoking policy and proposed different ways toward a solution that would work for everyone. The creation of designated smoking areas was strongly supported, but the question of where such spaces should be located on campus and what duties, if any, the creation of designated smoking spaces would make for the school in terms of safety and maintenance.
The discussion wrapped up with the committee members delegating the tasks of collecting more information on the nonsmoking campus initiative at both the BC and state law levels, as well as gathering input from Bakersfield College Allied Health experts and Kern County Health Department representatives on devising a comprehensive approach to implementing whatever options the college has, or if options are even available to us anymore in the wake of AB 1594.
Students who have concerns about the campus smoking policy or who would like to give their input on the matter may contact the BCSGA at [email protected] or by visiting the SGA website at