LBCC to extinguish smoking on campus as part of a statewide ban

Story by Andrea Ramos and Cassandra Reichelt Photo by Cassandra Reichelt

Two students enjoy a quick smoke break in between classes at the smoking section near building E.

In an effort to create a smoke free environment at LBCC, elected committee members will roll out a smoking ban on campus starting March 1, and will begin enforcing the ban by fining people after the spring break.

Currently there are eight smoking zones accessible to students, however starting in March, they entire two campuses will be considered smoke free.

Many states are already taking a stance against smoking and California is another state added to that list thanks to a vote by the state assembly in 2016 that banned smoking on state college campuses.

State colleges were given until the beginning of 2018 to comply with the new ban.

For the first offense students will be given warnings,  according to the Student Code of Conduct, and upon failure to comply with that warning, the Student Council may suspend repeat offenders and depending on how severe the case is, will be given fines.

However, when the smoking ban goes into effect, smoking will not be allowed on campus and students will have to continue their habit on public property off campus.

It is still in question how much people will be fined, as it will depend on how severe the repeat offense is but sources have shared that it may be as much as $500.

For AJ Mohammed, a student at LBCC, does not think it is a very good idea, “Dumb idea, takes opportunities away, but I can afford the max fine of $500,” Mohammed said.

Other students, such as  Ritchie Tith, were not aware of the smoking ban, but don’t care anyway, “I smoke in the car on the way out of school,” Tith said.

Officer Omar Martinez, a Long Beach Police Lieutenant and head of Public Safety, explained their role in enforcement, “My understanding is that it’s done through the student Code of Conduct, and our role is to support the Student Code of Conduct,” Martinez said.

Martinez also explained that the role of Public Safety is to enforce the law, and because the smoking ban isn’t a municipal law, their role would likely be limited to referring students to appear before Student Affairs based on the Student Code of Conduct, usually within seven days.

Randy Dip, an anthropology major at LBCC stated, “There should at least be an open space for people who would have trouble quitting or need that quick cigarette,” Dip said.

Students may see first warnings starting Feb. 19, but so far there has not been any flyers or announcements to inform the students of when or how the ban will be enforced.