ELAC to implement smoke-free campus policy

By Maria Isidoro

An effort is underway to reinforce the smoke-free environment policy to ban forms of tobacco, such as the use of e-cigarettes on East Los Angeles College’s campus.

Joining a growing list of colleges and universities with 100 percent smoke-free, tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free policies around the country, ELAC is developing a plan for a new smoking ban reinforcement policy.

The new student-led initiative is called Butts Out Revolution. It is initiated by the Association Student Government’s Health and Safety Committee to promote a healthy, productive and respectful environment.

Joshua Ibarra, Senator of ASU’s Health and Safety Committee, has developed a plan to transition ELAC into a tobacco-free campus and to reinforce the smoke-free environment policy.

Smoking is prohibited in all buildings, and the designated smoking areas are limited to smoking outside the buildings, according to the college’s smoke-free environment policy.

Also, tobacco-free policies are broad in addressing tobacco products, and smoke-free policies only address cigars, cigarettes and tobacco pipes.

According to Ibarra, a tobacco-free campus means there is no smoking for students, faculty, contractors and visitors anywhere on campus. The decision to eliminate all smoking from ELAC was based on the importance of the safety and health aspects of secondhand smokers, which there is a risk level of exposure.

Ibarra said that this new tobacco-free policy will help to enforce the smoke-free policy and will also ban smoking indoors and outdoors on the entire campus.

“I came across a non-profit organization that is funded by the federal government to help colleges become 100 percent tobacco-free,” Ibarra said.

According to Ibarra, the non-profit Legacy of Health will grant federal money for a full year, worth about $5,000, to ASU’s Health and Safety Committee to help ELAC go completely tobacco-free.

Ibarra said that the Health and Safety Committee will receive information from the non-profit organization in March to continue with the Butts Out Revolution project.

Ibarra also said it will be a big campaign and effort to make sure this policy is imposed and ELAC remains a healthy place to study, work and learn.

ELAC’s new smoke-free policy is still in transition and will include the prohibition of chewing tobacco, other tobacco products and smoked products like e-cigarettes.

“Before campus officials can start enforcing a policy… The first step is to educate this smoking and nonsmoking student population about the benefits to quit smoking and the effects of smoking,” Ibarra said.

According to Ibarra, the smoke-free policy is not a law until the smoking ban ordinance of Monterey Park is posted in the designated areas.

The ordinance was adopted at the beginning of October, making the city of Monterey Park a non-smoking community.

“There are very few smoking signs around campus,” Ibarra said. The Sheriff’s department cannot enforce this policy and ask people to stop smoking or leave if there is not an official code of the school, according to Ibarra.

“My main goal is not to force something,” Ibarra said. Also according to Ibarra, there are going to be severe consequences once this new policy is enforced.

Smoke-free and tobacco-free policies have been adopted locally at other colleges and universities in California, such as Pasadena City College, Fullerton College and University of California, according to the Americans Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

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