Schools in California’s public university systems are stamping out smoking in hopes that it will help improve the health of students, faculty and employees.
Both the University of California and California State systems have taken measures to ensure smoking will no longer be allowed on campuses. Some schools already enforce no-tobacco policies, while others plan to do so beginning next year, joining more than 1,100 colleges and universities around the nation that have gone smoke-free.
At San Diego State University, workers will remove ashtrays from the remaining 12 designated smoking areas on campus for its new rule that officially takes effect Wednesday. SDSU officials say they have created an informational website, smokefree.sdsu.edu, about its new directive.
Some students question how the policy will be enforced. Officials have said that if they see people lighting up, they’ll offer a friendly reminder. SDSU spokesman Greg Block said police aren’t going to be walking around campus handing out tickets.
“I’m not sure it will work,” Jin Salamack, a junior studying graphic design, told U-T San Diego. “I feel like the students who do smoke will end up smoking all over campus.”
Former UC President Mark Yudof announced the ban in 2012 but the rollout has been left up to each school. A call to the California State University office was not immediately returned.
UCLA did away with cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco in April. About 8 percent of UC students smoke, compared with the national average of 16 percent, officials said.
At the University of California, Riverside, school officials have spent about $50,000 on signs, promotional events and materials for the ban expected to start Wednesday. Some smokers at the school remain defiant.
Susan Chevrie, a custodian who has smoked a pack a day for 35 years, said she will kick the habit on her own terms.
“I’m not doing drugs,” she told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “I’m not drinking. If that’s the only thing I have to relieve my stress, leave me be.”