Sonoma State University will officially become an entirely “smoke-free campus” in July. The smoke-free campus policy initially takes effect as part of a transition period Sunday where smoking will be permitted in designated parking lots. Sonoma State joins CSU Fullerton as a smoke-free campus as well as San Jose Sate University, which will become smoke free beginning in August.
The smoke-free policy will be discussed at student orientation this summer as the university prepares to put up signage all over campus. Sonoma State’s current smoking policy, which became effective Jan. 27, 2003, states that “smoking is prohibited in all campus buildings, including classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, offices, work areas, study areas, reception areas, meeting rooms, lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, eating areas, lounges, and restrooms, and within 20 feet of all campus buildings.”
With the new smoke-free policy, there will be no smoking while on campus grounds.
Georgia Schwartz, director of the Sonoma State Health Center, was concerned about the dangers of second-hand smoke among students before the policy was made official.
“Every day we don’t do something, people are being exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke which are very real. Every year in this country 45,000-50,000 people die who have never smoked but have been exposed to second-hand smoke,” said Schwartz.
She believes a smoke-free environment for students will also help smokers quit smoking.
“Statistics show that when smoking becomes inconvenient or expensive or when people have to change their location, the smoking rate drops,” said Schwartz. “It becomes easier for people to quit or harder for people to become addicted.”
Many students seem to be responding well to the new policy and the promotion of living a healthier lifestyle.
“I think it’s a big milestone for any college campus,” said freshman Ambreana Burciaga. “It makes those who don’t smoke feel more comfortable around campus and it promotes a healthier living style that seems to go along with Sonoma State’s image of a positive environment.”
The policy, which intends to respect the rights of those who wish to smoke, is attempting to try and encourage community collaboration instead of a disciplinary-based compliance.
The UC Davis campus already has a smoke-free policy as of Jan. 1, 2014. Based off their smoke free policy, Sonoma State wants to take an educational approach.
Student support for this policy has been instrumental in getting the police implemented. Clubs around campus have been actively supporting this new policy all last year including the Student Health Advisory Committee.
Even after the new policy is implemented, the committee will continue to work with the Student Health Center to make its resources and services more available to students as well as continuing with their mission to promote good health and wellbeing among the students at Sonoma State.
The Human Resources Department is hosting a “Quitting Tobacco” class presented by Kaiser Permanente. This class, which is open to all students, aims to educate students on the harmful effects of tobacco use.
An email of this event was sent to all students as a way of helping students transition to the new smoke-free policy much smoother.
Students looking to quit smoking can visit the Student Health Center on the west side of campus across from Zinfandel Residence Halls or call 664-2921 to book an appointment.