Smokers may find themselves walking a little farther on campus to indulge their addiction if UCSB approves new restrictions.
The Tobacco Control Ordinance, which bans smoking within 20 feet of businesses in Isla Vista and other unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, was passed in November 2001. Now UCSB is looking to implement a similar policy on campus. Its approval would prohibit smoking within a 20-foot radius of all occupied university-owned, leased or managed buildings. The current ordinance only bans smoking within five feet of campus buildings’ exits.
Campus Policy Coordinator Meta Clow said the proposed policy, which is currently under review with the Academic Senate, poses a safety concern – the 20-foot restriction may put smokers into unsafe areas of the university when they choose to take a cigarette break.
Outside the Student Affairs and Administrative Services Building, 20 feet puts a person in the middle of a parking lot, street, or in front of other university buildings. Clow said she thought a 10-minute break might not be enough time to smoke with such a law in place. However, because of complaints to Student Health Services and research studies on secondhand smoke by the American College Health Association, the policy is under consideration.
Larry Parsons, acting director of the UCSB Environmental Health and Safety Dept., said the university seeks to correspond with city and county policies on most community issues.
If the policy is adopted, do not look for any police officers pounding the cigarette beat. Parsons said each department head and academic dean are responsible for keeping students and staff informed of the new rule; however, no citations will be issued.
“The policy will be enforced by voluntary compliance. … The individual is encouraged to ask the smoker to move away from the door,” Clow said.
If the Academic Senate approves the policy, Clow said the general campus would get a chance to comment on the issue in November – students will be able to voice their opinion on the UCSB website or directly to Associated Students.
Dawn Dunn, the administrator of the county’s Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program, said the current off-campus ordinance is not intended to give reasons for citations in I.V., but rather to educate people about the dangers of secondhand smoke and to provide workers with a smoke-free environment. Posted signs will be the primary source of this education.
“It’s a very rare occurrence for anyone to ever get a ticket [for smoking],” Dunn said.
Ryan Burroughs, a senior global studies major and smoker, said he has never been affected by the smoking ordinance and was not aware of the current ordinance on campus.
“If someone has a problem with me smoking, they can come tell me and I’ll put it out immediately,” he said. “You know? Respect your neighbors.”