Campus-Wide Smoking Ban Is A Real Drag
Smoking at school has potentially serious consequences
May 9, 2006 8:44 PM
Breaking the campus-wide smoking ban by lighting up at school could get smokers slapped with a misdemeanor, according to information cards distributed by campus police. But the odds of an actual fine are slim to none.
To remind students that adherence to the 2004 policy is not optional, campus police have been handing out cards to smokers with an explanation of the policy on one side, and a map of the campus showing the designated smoking areas on the other.
According to Ellen Griffin, director of the Office of Public Affairs and Publications at SF State, smoking on campus outside of the designated smoking areas has actually carried a misdemeanor punishment since the policy was first implemented. Griffin said she was unsure of the fine amount.
Griffin doubts any student has been cited as of yet and said it is unlikely one would be except in “extreme cases,” such as someone smoking indoors and refusing to put out his or her cigarette.
“I knew you weren’t supposed to smoke on campus, but I didn’t know they were actually approaching people,” said Allison Rawley, a 21-year-old environmental studies major.
“There’s definitely less smoking here,” she added.
The information on the card cites “Title 5, CA Code of Regulations, section 42356,” adopted in October 2002, which delegates authority to regulate smoking on campus to CSU presidents.
The card also reads that a “misdemeanor citation” may be issued for violation of the policy under “CA Education Code section 89031,” which allows the Board of Trustees to decide how CSU grounds are used and maintained, though the actual penalty for such a citation is not disclosed.
“I don’t smoke very much on campus, anyway. I feel bad when I do,” said 22-year-old consumer and family science major Chelsea Reynolds, glancing at the sign that hangs over the walkway toward 19th Avenue past the HSS building. “Especially near these banners, I feel guilty.”
Reynolds said she has not yet been approached by a police officer with one of the cards, but knowing she might be cited for smoking does make her less likely to smoke on campus.
“Especially if, somehow, I know I’m going to be punished,” she said.
According to a 2002 San Francisco Department of Public Health report, nearly 20 percent of Californians aged 18 to 24 smoke tobacco regularly.
Raza Studies major Jessica Sheahan, 21, said her roommate was told not to smoke on campus, but not by a police officer.
“My roommate said one time she was sitting at (Cafe) Rosso and someone came out and told her she wasn’t allowed to smoke there anymore,” she said. “Nobody’s said anything to me, so far.”
Sheahan occasionally smokes on campus, but she stays away from high-traffic areas.
“I don’t do it down there by Rosso,” she said.
Ellen Griffin said the main purpose of the information cards distributed by police is to dispel a rumor that the policy is not enforceable by campus authorities, reminding students that the policy is law.
“They are to counter a misperception that it’s voluntary,” Griffin said.
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