Smokers organize for designated smoking areas

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LIGHTING UP: Student Aaron Jimenez lights his cigarette in Shima parking lot earlier this week.

Delta College’s smoker population is organizing to create a group that specifically advocate for a place to light up on campus.

The goal of the group currently is to fight the proposed implementation of AP 2602, which would completely remove smoking areas from the Delta campus. The change will be brought up at a future Board of Trustees meeting.

According to the bill, the purpose for removing smokers from campus is due to several complaints from students and staff about smoke blocking the pathways, which leads to health problems from second-hand smoke.

“Campus Police continues to receive numerous complaints from students and employees including smokers that have to walk through clouds of smoke due to people smoking on the perimeter of our parking lot,” the proposal for Policy Procedure and Review, which would modify a policy adopted in 2009.

A group of smokers who hang out in the Shima parking lot are now organizing after hearing rumors that their place on campus was threatened. Now, the group wants their voices heard.
Joshua Johosky, one of the main organizers said Joann Cataldo, professor of communication studies, directed him to Paula Bennett in the Office of Planning, Research and Intuitional Effectiveness for more information and to start a petition.

“We got the form and got a bunch of petitions going. Getting people to sign it with their ID number. We got close to 800 in three days,” said Johosky.

The group wants to present the petitions and speak out at the next Board of Trustees meeting, as well as propose an idea that would give them smoking areas still on campus, but not directly affecting students.

“We want to have at least four smoking areas on campus with ashtrays and a bench, and we want to be responsible to make sure they are cleaned up,” said Karrie Richards, another student advocating for the smokers.

The biggest contender with the proposal is the Administrative Procedure 3570, which states that “no cigarette urns will be placed on District property.”

Campus smokers claim they never want to smoke in peoples’ faces and state that part of the request is for the campus to set up designated smoking locations that would allow them to smoke without their habit being forced on other people.

“We don’t like blowing our smoke on people who don’t want to smoke, we would like our own area and not be forced to smoke in front of them,” said Johosky.

If the new revisions pass, the group is concerned about the time between classes to go run off campus for a quick smoke break. Group members said this enforcement would impact getting to school on time.

“A lot of people who are out there are smoking between class, after class, before class,” said Johosky.