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UCSB is currently making the shift to going totally smoke-and-tobacco-free, as all universities in the 10-campus UC system will be officially designated as non-smoking beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
On the first day of the new year, any tobacco and tobacco-free products smoked through cigarettes, pipes, water pipes and hookahs used on campus — in addition to smokeless tobacco and unregulated nicotine products such as “e-cigarettes” — will be in violation of the policy. Adoption of the policy will join the UC with 1,100 other colleges and universities throughout the U.S. that have already implemented such regulations to limit second and third-hand smoke exposure on campus. The UC system’s transition to becoming completely smoke and tobacco-free was first announced by former UC President Mark G. Yudof back in January 2012.
According to a statement released by the UC Office of the President, approximately eight percent of UC students and 10 percent of UC employees light up, and these figures place the University’s members below the respective national averages of 16 and 12 percents.
UCSB’s new Policy and Procedure regulations states that smoking will be prohibited in all buildings owned, leased or managed by the university, in addition to all vehicles owned or operated on university grounds.
Earlier this year, UCLA was the first UC campus to implement the smoking ban, and some other schools, such as UC San Diego, have followed suit, enacting smoke-free policies before the ban’s official start next year.
However, the new ban will have other far-reaching effects, as it will include a ban on tobacco-product advertising in on-campus publications and university-owned facilities, with the exception of non-campus-based newspapers and magazines on sale in campus stores. The sale or distribution of any smoking paraphernalia on campus will also be prohibited, although popular campus stores like the Arbor or the Corner Store already do not offer such products.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs John Longbrake said the policy follows the UC system’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of campus community members.
“As a national leader in healthcare and environmental practices, the university system recognizes its responsibility to exercise leadership through the creation of a smoke and tobacco-free environment for all students, employees and visitors at all UC campuses,” Longbrake said in an email.
Student reception to the upcoming ban varies, however, as some students acknowledge the health benefits of going smoke-free, while others see the new ban as an infringement on individual rights.
Third-year chemistry major Nilou Sarvian said she looks forward to experiencing the change in campus climate, as the new policy may encourage some students to drop the habit.
“I’m really happy that UCSB has stepped up and is making this change,” Sarvian said. “It inspires a healthier atmosphere when you don’t have kids running out of section or lecture for a quick smoke.”
However, second-year feminist studies major Kelty Kauffman said the new regulation “doesn’t make sense” since it interferes with an activity that everyday Americans are legally allowed to engage in.
“Really, it seems like banning people from doing something adults have every right to do in the place where they spend the majority of their time, is invasive,” Kauffman said.
While the ban may seem like a violation of basic rights, first-year chemistry major Lex Jung said it acts as an incentive for him to quit smoking.
“I feel like the Jan. 1, 2014 no-smoking date for me was another motivation to quit my smoking habits,” Lex said. “I am using that, and I truly believe that by Jan. 1, 2014, I will not be smoking anymore.”
Nonetheless, some students are still unsupportive of the ban, as second-year biopsychology major Lakshmi Ganne said it is a limitation to one’s right to “self-expression” and other individual liberties.
“Obviously, cigarettes aren’t illegal in the United States, so why should smoking them be illegal on campus?” Ganne said. “The main argument that people have against people smoking in public areas is that the second-hand smoke harms people who are walking by, but if they have designated smoking areas, then the people who don’t want to be exposed to smoke can just avoid those areas, and that just limits the harm to anyone passing by.”
UCSB administrators are notifying students of the new ban through this fall’s Gaucho FYI sessions, which Longbrake said will also aid in outreach efforts in the coming months. Planned outreach methods include mass e-mails, social media channels, signs and flyers.
—Tiana Miller-Leonard contributed to this article.
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of Tuesday October 15th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
PETER VANDENBELT / DAILY NEXUS