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Smoking out the answers: Will CSULB ban tobacco?

The CSULB smoking ban taskforce will be surveying the campus of its smoking habits.

Amy Patton, News Editor

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If enforced, California State University, Long Beach’s smoking ban will be the first in the California State University system to be mandated by the student population.

Other CSU’s have enacted campus-wide smoking bands in previous years; however, none have been passed through a student vote. CSU Fullerton and San Francisco both have smoking bans on campus that were passed by the student senate body.

In February 2012, the CSU system passed an initiative to begin the process of banning the sale of tobacco products on CSU campuses and began enforcing it the following year. CSULB still sells cigarettes at the convenience store next to the bookstore for $6.99 per pack. The average price of a pack of cigarettes in California is $6.45, according to data released by the U.S. Federation of Tax Administrators.

It’s kind of illogical to outright ban smoking when they sell cigarettes at the store [on campus],” Sally Swank, an anthropology major, said.

President Jane Close Conoley sent out an email last week with the link to a survey to poll the smoking habits of students, staff and faculty on campus.

“I am committed to following up on this referendum,” Conoley said in the email.

In the email Conoley said that she intends to implement a new “comprehensive” smoking and tobacco policy by fall 2016.

“I think via email was kind of a way to do it but quietly without getting too much attention from it,” senior communications major Krys Gione said.

The survey results will help the task force make “informed” recommendations about a smoking policy.

“I feel like everyone should have the liberty to express,” junior chemical engineering major Salah Al Thanwi said. “I know smoking is affecting other people, but if there were designated areas for them to smoke then it should not be an issue as long as they respect those rules.”

Multicultural Center Director Cynthia Schultheis circulated a response essay to the smoking survey. She outlined other “‘non-healthy’ practices” that she believes are affiliated with the campus. She noted fast food, Starbucks and serving alcohol at 11 a.m. as unhealthy behaviors acceptable on campus.

“How about a drunken student stumbling into class, or your [professor] a bit pickled,” Schultheis said in the essay. “Alcohol addiction is the worst thing college age students can use as the percentage of alcoholism runs high. But that’s ok?!”

In her email, Conoley said that the CSULB community will be able to “weigh-in” on the decision on a website about the smoking ban. A website URL or website launch date have yet to be released.

“I am aware that ending smoking and tobacco use could be a contentious topic that may lead to some debate,” Conoley said in the email. “Thoughtful feedback on this subject is welcome and will be integral to both the recommendations of the task force and the new policy.”

The student body voted on the smoking ban referendum in spring 2013. Nearly 20 percent of the student body voted. Of those who voted, 64 percent voted to pass the ban.

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