Sac State not breathing easy on current smoking policy


Joseph Daniels - The State Hornet

Sacramento State student Crystal Forame smokes a cigarette on campus. The University still has no plan on how to enforce its tobacco-free policy.

Joseph Daniels

Sacramento State placed banners near school entrances advertising its “Breathe Easy” anti-smoking campaign, which implies a smoke-free campus,  but a smoking ban will not be enforced any time soon, according to Sac State Police Chief Mark Iwasa.

The State Hornet previously reported that Sac State will implement a smoking ban early in the spring 2018 semester, but Iwasa said that the smoke-free campus policy will not be enforced until “next fall at the earliest.”

California State University Chancellor Timothy White issued an executive order that bans the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapor devices, for all of CSU campuses by Sept. 1.

The interim director of News and Communications at Sac State, Brian Blomster, said that there is an understanding that there will be a grace period allowed for CSU campuses before they enforce the new smoking policy.  

According to Blomster, the “Breathe Easy” campaign is how Sac State has chosen to comply with the executive order. He also said that the banners are a part of the campaign and are used to educate the campus community about the change in policy before it is enforced.  

“We are not looking to make a problem for anyone, but eventually, we are giving people time to adjust to the change,” Blomster said. “We are going to expect people to respect the ban.”

President Robert Nelsen said in a Sac State press release that he wants students to take advantage of the extra time to quit tobacco products.

The banner includes a reference to a page on the Sacramento State website offering information and resources that are intended to help students who want to quit using tobacco products.

The website says the Student Health and Counseling Services Pharmacy provides free quit kits for students who want to kick the habit.

The kit includes literature with tips on how quit smoking, as well as sunflower seeds, mints, gum and honey sticks, which can help ease the process.

Academic Affairs and Student Affairs collaborated on the creation of the “Breathe Easy” banners, and Facilities distributed them at school entrances.

The University has yet to release information on how the policy will be enforced next year or what penalties students will face if they don’t comply.

“Right now, are we a smoke-free campus?” Blomster said. “I mean, if people are still smoking on it, I would say no. We got the regulation that you know is in place, but again, we are letting people get used to it.”

Luis Kischmischian of the Division of Student Affairs said that the fact Sac State created a policy banning tobacco products is enough to label the school a smoke-free campus.

“Because it is not enforced, does not mean that it’s (not) a smoke-free campus,” Kischmischian said.

Sac State student Kelsey Clarke, who is a smoker, said she saw the number of smokers dropped this semester.

“When I do, I feel like they are separated from the campus,” Clarke said.

Crystal Forame, a Sac State student who is also a smoker, said that she is skeptical that Sac State will implement its smoking ban policy.  

“It sounds like they don’t have all their ducks in a row,” Forame said. “It doesn’t seem like they have the policies, the orders, the procedures to uphold these policies. I guess we’ll see it if it happens, if it does.”

Kischmischian said there currently is no indication of what CSU enforcement of the ban will look like.