The fight against smoking is coming to UC Davis, as smokers will find it difficult to find somewhere to grab a quick smoke in two years time.
In a letter to the UC chancellors on Jan. 9, UC President Mark G. Yudof asked each chancellor to form a committee to implement a smoke-free policy by 2014.
“As a national leader in health care and environmental practices, the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke by creating a smoke-free environment on all of our campuses,” Yudof wrote.
Yudof made explicit mandates that each university is to uphold in the smoke-free policy.
“Smoke-free means that smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products and the use of unregulated nicotine products (e.g., “e-cigarettes”) will be ‘strictly’ prohibited,” Yudof wrote.
Davis already has multiple smoke-free areas on campus. According to the UC Davis Policy and Procedure Manual, state law and university policy prohibit smoking inside UC-owned and UC-leased buildings in order to protect the health, safety and comfort of university students, employees and visitors.
In addition to the policy already in place, the new smoke-free policy will prohibit the use of any type of tobacco products in parking lots, residential spaces and the Medical Center campuses.
Furthermore, the sale and advertising of tobacco products will be strictly prohibited in university owned and occupied buildings.
One UC Davis smoker, Amber Garcia, a junior sociology and political science double major, said that the smoke-free policy might have a negative affect on students’ ability to get away from the pressure of school.
“A lot of the students want that stress free moment from midterms and finals. It’s a little five-second release,” she said.
Those stress free moments will be hard to find though starting 2014.
Julia Ruble, a senior anthropology major, doesn’t think this policy will really make a difference on campus.
“I don’t think it’s going to do anything. The few [graduate] students that I’ve talked to about it said they are going to smoke anyway. It’s an enforcement issue. There’s not really a way to enforce everyone to stop smoking,” she said.
Only about 10 percent of employees and about 8 percent of students in the UC system regularly smoke, according to the UC Office of the President report.
Ruble said that the small portion of people who do smoke on campus are generally polite about it.
“No one walks through a crowd and blows smoke in peoples’ faces,” she said. “People are usually pretty good about not smoking in doorways or where it is enclosed. The whole smoking thing can be totally socially controlled.”
In the coming months, the committee charged with developing the policy will look to help students and employees alike reduce and all together cease tobacco related habits.
“The enforcement of the smoke-free policy should be primarily educational, with an emphasis on cessation resources,” Yudof wrote.
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.