Tobacco Ban has health benefits


Chico State has become a smoke and tobacco-free campus. The change happened on Aug. 17 so that the campus would comply with a system-wide executive order signed by Chancellor White in April.

Some campus community members may be opposed to the change, but the new policy is a good decision. More than 480,000 people die every year from cigarette smoking, according to the Center for Disease Control. Thirteen percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 consider themselves smokers, according to another report.

The health risks that smoking tobacco poses is too high for both smokers and non-smokers. Secondhand smoke can cause health problems as well since non-smokers are still exposed to chemicals in tobacco smoke. There are over 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, 70 of which can cause cancer according to the Center for Disease Control. The smoking areas that were on campus near Plumas Hall, Glenn Hall and the Meriam Library were near high-traffic areas, which exposes many people to second-hand smoke.

While smoking can help reduce stress, it’s a temporary fix that may cause more harm than good. Chico State offers several resources on campus for those under stress including the Counseling Center, two Zen Dens and the WREC.

While these resources exist, the change can still be jarring to tobacco users on campus. The university could have helped ease the process by leaving a few smoking areas and moving them to less populated parts of campus. The executive order states that the change had to occur by Sept. 1. By banning all tobacco products early, the change could be more difficult for those who rely heavily on tobacco. The Campus Alcohol & Drug Education Center offers smoking cessation programs for students, faculty, and staff, according to a campus-wide email sent by Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson.

While the change in policy may be upsetting for some, it’s important to remember that Chico is the city of trees. John Bidwell was a tree collector and it’s difficult to enjoy the natural beauty of campus through a shroud of cigarette smoke.

This change also shouldn’t be too surprising. Gov. Jerry Brown already signed a bill in 2016 that raised the smoking age in California to 21. Many Chico State students can’t legally purchase cigarettes anyway. The UC system banned smoking on all campuses in 2014, according to the Office of the President. Some CSU’s had already adopted bans on their own as well. CSU Fullerton has been a smoke-free campus since 2013, according to its website.

While the change may be difficult to handle for some, this could be a healthier fix for the entire campus community.

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