Smoking ban plan advances

Megan Fenwick, Reporter

A procedure to make Bakersfield College tobacco-free has been approved by the College Council and will be added to the District Consultation Council’s agenda in the next few weeks. BC currently adheres to state law, which does not allow smoking within 20 feet of any entrance, exit, or window of a public building. If the tobacco-free procedure is approved, all smoking, tobacco products, and smoking devices would be banned from campus.

The new smoking procedure will be presented to the council by campus representatives Sue Vaughn, who is also on the College Council, and Steven Holmes, who helped write the procedure. According to Cindy Collier, the dean of Allied Health, the district’s approval may be the last step to implementing the policy on campus. Efforts have been made for years to change the smoking policy on campus, which has been the state law, but Collier said recent headway can be attributed to an aggressive taskforce and a $7,500 grant given to the Student Health and Wellness Center by the antitobacco group Truth Initiative.

“Before, when we would try, we would hit interesting roadblocks,” she said, “So I’m hoping those roadblocks have been diminished and that there aren’t any new ones that are going to pop up. I think it’s just tenacity.” Although the procedure would only apply to Bakersfield College, not the district, it needs to be approved by the District Consultation Council in order to go on to board policy.

From there, BC would have the authority to implement the procedure on campus. If the procedure is approved, BC would be tobacco-free by this fall semester. Collier said the focus would be on informing staff and students and providing educational tools, while relying on peer pressure for enforcement rather than punishing smokers. “It really would be a PR campaign from the second they said OK,” said Collier.