Students returning to Del Mar College this semester may notice one big difference. The college now prohibits the use of tobacco, E-cigarettes, vaping pens and any other related products by any employee, student or visitor on any DMC premises.
The purpose of the ban is to protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of students, faculty members and the public, according to the new tobacco policy.
At the May meeting, regents unanimously approved the ban, which took effect August 17.
“Adopting this policy allows the Regents to provide a healthier environment for all the students, faculty and guests,” said Trey McCampbell, Chairman of the Board of Regents. “Culturally aware institutions, from fast food restaurants to large residential universities, are adopting smoke-free policies, as well.”
Although more students were against a blanket ban of all tobacco products, according to a survey DMC conducted in Spring 2014, most believed the college should regulate tobacco on campus.
“The idea of a ban was brought up in Student Government Association Fall (SGA) 2013 at an SGA meeting,” said Beverly Cage, Director of Student Leadership and Campus Life. “Several asked why the smoking policy was not being enforced when the signs said no smoking with 20 feet in the Coles, Harvin Student Center, Library east/west campuses and the Coleman Center and Flato Building.”
The majority of faculty members were for the complete ban of tobacco products on campus with a total of 60.63 percent strongly agreeing of those who took the 2014 survey.
“I confirmed with officials that the college property ends at the outer sidewalk surrounding the outer perimeter of each campus,” said Claudia Jackson, executive director of strategic communication and government relations. “Individuals standing on the outer perimeter sidewalk, or between the sidewalk and the street curb, are not in violation of the college’s smoke-free policy.”
As defined in the College Manual of Policies and Procedures, nonscholastic misconduct, such as violating the Smoke Free Campus policy, may result in different levels of action, depending on the severity and frequency of violation. Students may receive a warning, lose privileges, be placed on probation or suspension or, in extreme cases, be permanently expelled from the college.
“Adherence to the policy is expected form the first day of class this semester,” Jackson said. “The college is posting signs at most building entrances to ensure all students, faculty, staff and guests are aware of the smoke-free campus policies.”
The Campus Print Services produced posters and window clings for a total of $643.70 to advertise the smoking ban to any person on campus.
The tobacco ban was again brought up in the 2014 February SGA monthly meeting by Bob Long, the faculty council chairman, Cage said.
“The faculty council had unanimously voted for the idea of a smoke-free or even tobacco-free campus,” Cage said.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), 25 colleges and universities are smoke-free campuses. Of those, eight are completely tobacco and e-cigarette free, similarly to DMC.
“Primarily college staff members will be enforcing the new ban,” Jackson said. “Anyone may report violations of the ‘Smoke Free Campus’ policy to the Student Life Coordinator, Lisa Leal-Garcia, at 698-1993.”
Smoking in a personal vehicle located on any Del Mar property is not allowed under the ban. If a student, faculty member or guest would like to use any tobacco products they will have to leave DMC property completely.
“I feel smoking and dipping are good examples of products to ban on campus because of secondhand smoke and dip bottles are gross to those who don’t dip, but I don’t understand why things like vaping are being banned,” student and recreational dipper Dylan Duff said. “A vape pen expels water vapor. I understand not being allowed to do it inside, but outside should be fine.”
The college decided to include vape pens and e-cigarettes in the tobacco ban to better the health of students and faculty on campus.
“The college is committed to providing a healthy environment for all students,” Jackson said. “The long-term effects of ‘vapes’ are not known, for the users as well as for those in the user’s company.”
There are a few exceptions to the tobacco ban on campus; for instance, in those circumstances where the College District is party to a contract or other agreement relating to the property that limits its authority in this matter. All research projects, artistic productions or other college-sponsored activities involving the act of smoking must have prior approval from the Office of the Provost.
“The ban is clearly a violation of our basic civil rights, as well as an insult to a large population of students and faculty members,” student and nonsmoker Bryce Stanley said. “In a sense it’s slut shamming smokers for exercising something they have every right to do.”
During the fall semester sensation classes to help with students addition to tobacco and alcohol will be offered through the counseling services upstairs in the Harvin Center on the East Campus. Services are open to all students.