Valencia prepares to enforce college-wide smoking ban

Valencia+prepares+to+enforce+college-wide+smoking+ban

Joseph Morrision / Valencia Voice

Xavier Charles enjoys a cigarette on West Campus. The smoking ban will be enforced beginning Jan. 1.

The Great American Smokeout came to Valencia’s East Campus last week to raise awareness on the dangers of smoking and to encourage all students and faculty to kick the habit.
Valencia College has joined the Share the Air campaign to ban smoking in all public places, indoors and outdoors, anywhere on campus.
“We are not doing this because we are against smokers,” said Debbie Jakubcin, Valencia’s Wellness Coordinator, “We are simply saying that you cannot smoke on campus. We are trying to have a healthy environment for all.”
The policy for a smoke-free campus took effect on Aug. 27, but will begin being enforced on Jan. 1. The policy bans smoking of any kind from anywhere on campus, to include all open areas, as well as personal vehicles.
“It’s too much, too fast,” said Amanda Schulz, Valencia student and current smoker. “This is going to require a lot of enforcement and they can’t even keep people from smoking in non-smoking areas let alone in their own cars.”
Eliminating smoking on campus is just one part of the Valencia plan to clean the air. They will be offering resources to students, faculty, and community members who want to quit but don’t know where to start. “We have a five week program that is being offered,” said Jakubcin. “There will be counseling and quit-smoking aids offered at no cost.”
The cost of quitting or lack of resources is not the issue for some to include smoker and student Rena Merchant. “Cars cause more smoke then any of the smokers,” she said. “Nothing is being done about that.”
The policy to go smoke free on campus has been under review for the past year and, according to Jakubcin, this was done to make sure that smokers were not going to feel discriminated against. “We are not trying to stop smoker’s freedom,” she said. “This is being done more in support for them.”
Such a program would have been beneficial for Carol Traynor, Valencia’s Senior Public Relations Manager and former smoker. “I had to quit smoking back when they banned it in federal buildings without the help of quit smoking aids and it was tough. If we had this when I was quitting I would have used the resources definitely.”
Assistance and resources still are not enough for some current smokers. “This is still a free country, isn’t it?” Merchant said. “It’s not against the law.”
For further information on the Share The Air initiative or to take advantage of the resources being offered go to www.valenciacollege.edu/sharetheair.