ELAC aims for smoke-free campus

By Erik Luna

Trying to get people to quit smoking cigarettes is hard to do.

So, why bring this up? Last Thursday, East Los Angeles College, along with its Respiratory Therapy program, teamed up with Tobacco-Free Kids to promote “No Smoking,” in an annual event called “Kick Butts Day.”

My last cigarette was on January 1, 2013. I decided to quit strictly for myself and no one else.

Sure, my parents, my brothers and friends would tell me I should quit, but as 2013 drew closer, I decided to quit.

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish in writing, but there is a strong emphasis on “I.”

This was a good way to spread the word about the harmful effects of smoking, and how children fall victim to smoking.

The statistics alone were depressing. Yet, with these events, something is always missing. What about the people who gave up smoking?

Once you quit, it’s a never-ending battle. Whenever you see people smoking, that familiar urge comes creeping into your mind. “One cigarette won’t kill you,” you think to yourself.

What about students who go through the hectic college life, always resorting back to that nail-coffin, which makes you go coughing, cigarette?

Many universities and colleges have adopted a smoke-free campus rule. This would be fine, if we had people to enforce the rule.

Currently, smoking is only allowed at ELAC in two designated smoking areas. One is located in front of the lunch truck, because you can’t have lunch without that pungent aroma of burning tobacco, and by the Husky Statue.

So, why is it that I see so many students walking around smoking their favorite brand cigarettes? Why are school officials or the Sheriff’s not saying anything?

It’s easy. They are too busy or they don’t care. Whatever the reason may be, students continue to ignore the rules and smoke freely where ever they please.

I would always break this rule, so of course I expect others to do so as well.  My reason for breaking the rule was simple. The designated smoking areas are too far away.

The solution is simple as well. Create more designated smoking areas, so the smokers are happy and those who don’t want to be near someone smoking, i.e., a former smoker, can avoid those areas and resist temptations.

The work that Tobacco-Free Kids and ELAC are doing is great and they should continue to do whatever they can to get people to stop smoking, especially children, but they obviously won’t be able to get everyone to quit smoking.

Making ELAC a smoke-free campus, which has been brought up in the past by faculty, is unrealistic because if people aren’t punished for smoking where they are not supposed to right now, then why will they be punished later on?

Creating new and easily accessible designated smoking areas for students and faculty is a quick and easy way to make sure everybody is happy.

Quitting smoking can be hard, but if you take it upon yourself to remove the temptations then it will be that much easier.

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