California State University, Long Beach
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CSULB Breathing Easier

Published: August 22, 2016

As CSULB prepares to implement its new 100 percent smoke-, vapor- and tobacco-free policy, the university has already removed more than 100 ash cans across campus and has begun installing new outdoor permanent signage as part of its Breathe Campaign.

The change was first announced in October 2015 when President Jane Close Conoley launched a campus-wide campaign called “Breathe” to promote awareness of the health risks of tobacco use and inform people of the impending policy change.

To solicit input from the campus community, a tobacco survey was distributed and focus groups were held. Of the respondents, students represented 77 percent, staff 13 percent, faculty 9 percent and administrators 1 percent. Among all respondents, 52 percent reported that second-hand smoke typically bothers them a lot. Among all respondents, 75 percent support CSULB becoming a smoke/tobacco-free campus. Eighty percent of administrators and faculty, 82 percent of staff and 73 percent of students support CSULB becoming a smoke/tobacco-free campus.

CSULB joins San Diego State, California State University, Northridge, San Jose State and Sonoma State in prohibiting smoking and the use of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, on all indoor and outdoor property. The new policy applies to the entire campus, including buildings, sidewalks and parking lots.

According to the California Legislative Information website, Assembly Bill 1594 would officially begin on Jan. 1, 2018, and prohibit smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices and tobacco products on CSU campuses and state community colleges. CSULB, along with the other named CSU campuses, are ahead of Assembly Bill 1594’s stated starting date.

Students from CSULB’s Health Science Department have been trained to be compassionate and professional advocates as they proactively educate the campus community regarding the new policy, as well as educate about the availability of free smoking- and tobacco-cessation services provided by the university.

According to Health Science’s Claire Garrido-Ortega, who heads up the campaign along with Health Science and Health Care Administration’s Natalie Whitehouse-Capuano, approximately 12 percent of students on campus smoke, which is a similar percentage to Californians overall.

Experience has shown that many colleges and universities find that they do not need to enforce the policy if they encourage compliance through educational campaigns. If education and peer enforcement does not result in increased compliance, the university has the authority to issue citations to individuals violating the smoke-free policy. Under state law, public colleges and universities can determine if they want to fine violators and, if so, the amount of the fine is not to exceed $100. Collected funds can be allocated to include, but not limited to, the designated enforcement agency, education and promotion of the policy, and tobacco-cessation treatment options.

To learn more, you can visit the Breathe campaign website.

–Shayne Schroeder