Navigating through the smoke: Details hazy on the Smoke & Tobacco-Free campus policy


Tam V. Duong Jr.

Amos Mak,

Since Sept. 1, smokers need to look elsewhere to take a break, because all California State Universities have enacted a “Smoke & Tobacco-Free” policy. This means the use of smoke-emanating and tobacco products are prohibited from the entire campus including classroom buildings, parking lots, and former smoking-designated areas.

Before the school year, people were able to smoke a cigarette or chew tobacco on campus as long as they stay beyond 20 feet of a main exit, entrance, or operable window of a public building via the California Government Code 7597. But that is no longer allowed under the new policy.

The University Police Department will be participating in educating students regarding East Bay’s new change to be smoke and tobacco-free. Corporal Michael Elder states, “Upon meeting students who are smoking on campus, we will briefly talk about the new policy and give a notification card with further information during the first year of school.” Students will not be ticketed during this transitory period.

This comes from the desk of CSU Chancellor, Dr. Timothy White, who has issued Executive Order 1108 made effective on April. 7 which supersedes the previous restriction and implements a completely “smoke-free” policy in order to provide a “fulfilling, rewarding, safe, and healthy environment” that will “support the principle of one’s individual freedom to learn, teach work, think and take part in their intellectual endeavors”.

This came into effect on Sept. 1 in order to allow universities time to create support programs for smoking cessation and counseling. The announcement of the “Smoke and Tobacco-Free” policy was made through multiple CSUEB Horizon emails to all students and the details of the policy and its effects can be found on the Smoke and Tobacco Free webpage.

But unlike what the policy’s title suggests, it will not be restricted to only cigarettes and tobacco. According to the executive order, the definition of “smoke-free” also includes other “smoke” emanating products which include e-cigarettes and vapor devices. It even includes medical marijuana. According to California State University East Bay’s smoke and tobacco-free website, having a valid medical marijuana card do not permit possession or usage of the drug.

Chair of the campus taskforce in charge of implementation and oversight of the new policy, Human Resources Manager Geraldine Torbik, is responsible for the “communication, education, and enforcement” but she was unable to disclose to the Pioneer the details of what programs will be utilized to support the new policy nor how it would affect the students and faculty in the future. She did not provide more answers upon further questioning and hinted that everything was not finalized.

However, not everyone on-campus agrees with the complete ban of smoke and tobacco products. English major Amina Strom responds, “How could someone tell me what to smoke in my own car? How would that impose anyone on campus? It is my own property.”