A policy as thin as smoke

Antonio Hernandez

As an ex-smoker, I understand the harmful effects of the disgusting habit. I understand the animosity felt when someone tells you that you can’t smoke in a certain place. I used to hate rules against smoking and believed they infringed on my God-given rights.

Now I get it.

After two months of not smoking, I can smell the lung-clenching toxins of a Marlboro Light. Now, when I see smokers, I weave and bob to dodge the incoming cancer. So, as I came onto the Pierce campus Feb. 4, I was relieved by the “new smoking policy”-however, I was also enraged.

I was relieved when I saw that it placed more smoking areas on campus, therefore giving smokers more of a choice and an incentive to follow the campus policy. However, I was disappointed that this was the best they could come up with.

Buttons and umbrella areas? That’s the best thing the Academic Senate could think of? On none of these posters did I see the consequence for not obeying these rules. It’s more like a collective “please don’t smoke on campus,” rather than an actual rule set. How can a policy with no enforcement curb smokers from puffing away in non-designated areas?

I walked into my speech class to see piles of “thank you for not smoking” buttons untouched, receiving only a few chuckles by students as a professor offered the buttons to them on their way out of class.

They were right to laugh; this policy is a joke when compared to other community college smoking policies.

Moorpark Community College only allows smoking in their parking lot areas. No pleading or begging came from them; they pushed smokers off campus.

We have Los Angeles sheriffs on campus for a reason and that is to enforce policy and ensure that the student population is safe. This should fall under their jurisdiction. Why not have sheriffs cite students who disobey the rules? Of course we don’t have enough sheriff deputies to catch every single smoker, but word of mouth would take care of the rest.

Would you want to risk the chance of getting a ticket, just so you can have your nicotine fix?

If Pierce is going to say that they “provide a healthy learning environment,” as advertised on these posters, then why not act upon that statement? This parody of a policy is a half-assed attempt to get smokers to obey. Smokers need to be pushed off campus, not nudged or poked into small areas fit for prisoners of war.

So, until the Academic Senate gets serious about this problem, I will join in this chorus of laughter- ladies and gentlemen, the Brahma Bull has lost its horns.


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