Smoking issue still unsettled

Marcus Castro, Contributing Editor

The ongoing discussion of a smoking policy being implemented at Bakersfield College may be very near its end.

The policy was supposed to be finalized in March of 2016, but due to questions of individuals of the District Consultation Council they are not able to be answered yet.

Dean of Allied Health Cindy Collier said, “The last time I was informed, it went to what we call District Consultation Council. There were questions that were brought up during that time about the procedure. It’s actually not even the policy. The policy has been approved; it’s the procedure.”

The questions and issues about the procedure of implementing the policy can be answered by Collier, but she has not been to a consultation meeting.

“What I’ve been told is that I need to be invited to a district consultation so that I can answer these questions for them, and at this point in time, I haven’t been invited yet,” said Collier.

Collier explained that she hopes the policy will be implemented during the summer at BC or at least during fall of 2016.

While BC is on its way to getting a smoking policy, the state is working on one as well.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a Democrat in Sacramento, has been leading the effort at the state level to get a law passed that would make all California Community Colleges and California State Universities tobacco free.

The Assembly has recently passed the bill, and it has been advanced to the Senate. The bill is expected to be discussed and a decision made by 2018.

Collier explains that the state policy will be much tougher than what BC is currently trying to implement.

She said that the state policy would come along with ticketing for smoking on campus.

“Ours is truly about education and trying to just get peer pressure going,” said Collier. “I really didn’t want it to be a punishment. I really wanted it to be thought as this is really about your health.”

Collier explained that she thinks the state policy is a good thing, and that it will be nice if BC can implement the policy first as it would ease the campus into the more serious policy the state may implement.

When the consultation council finalizes the policy, BC will immediately begin to make the policy known, according to Collier.

Collier said, “The goal is to get signage out there saying ‘Hey, BC’s tobacco free,’ and to have the Student Health Center be able to provide cessation counseling for students who would want that.”