BC is now completely tobacco free

Megan Fenwick, Social Media Editor

As of the current 2017 fall semester, Bakersfield College is a completely tobacco-free campus. After passing through various committees, the procedure was finally approved by the District Consultation Council last spring semester.

BC previously followed state law by not allowing smoking within 20 feet of the entrances, exits, or windows of public buildings. Under this new procedure, the use of any tobacco or marijuana products is prohibited, along with any electronic smoking devices.

The head of Allied Health, Cindy Collier, has been working for six to seven years to make this policy a reality on campus. “The people who are going to become permanent users are your 18-24 years, so if you can stop tobacco use during that age, you tend to not become a lifetime user,” she said.

According to Collier, there will be no punitive measures taken against students who are found smoking on campus, but instead will focus on education, providing resources and relying on peer-pressure for enforcement.

“Ideally, if the faculty chairs can take it down to the faculty members, [and] the faculty members can just mention it in class, discuss it in class, [and] point students to the right resources, that’s really the goal,” said Collier.

Raymond Purcell, the director of Student Health and Wellness and the author of the tobacco free page on BC’s website, said that a compassionate approach would be more effective than a punitive one.

“We recognize that tobacco products, particularly nicotine, are highly addictive, and discontinuing tobacco products is very difficult and so we are very interested in people’s success,” he said.

Some of the resources available to students trying to quit smoking are free telephone counseling through nobutts.org, health risk information through organizations like the American Cancer Society, and downloadable phone applications. Collier also mentioned the potential for group counseling if there was a need from students.

While the procedure aims to help people quit smoking, there is also a huge focus on health equality for all students and staff on campus.

“So, you say that an educational opportunity is free and unrestricted in a community college, but if you can’t pass through that environment to the classroom … then it’s not truly free and accessible,” said Purcell. “And so now there is a free and accessible court through tobacco free environments for students with vulnerable conditions.”