Smoke Free 2.0: Community Colleges Aboard the Smoking Ban Train

Smoke Free 2.0: Community Colleges Aboard the Smoking Ban Train
More and more community colleges are jumping aboard the smoke-free train. Learn about many campuses going smoke free this year and even potential legislation banning smoking on campuses across a state.

Smoking has been banned in many public places today, from office buildings to restaurants. Now, more and more college campuses are leaping on the smoke-free bandwagon in hopes of creating environments that are cleaner and healthier for their students and staff. Even those that had no-smoking policies inside their buildings are now moving outdoors to the college quads and walkways to ban the habit there as well. We'll take a look at a number of community colleges across the country that are saying no to smoking on campus.

What the American College Health Association has to Say

The American College Health Association (ACHA) is an organization that provides advocacy, education, and communications to promote the health of college students and staff across the country. In 2009, the ACHA released a position statement on tobacco use at college and university campuses. According to the statement, ACHA acknowledges the Surgeon General's assessment that tobacco use of any form is a significant health hazard.

In light of this assessment, the ACHA has issued a No Tobacco Use policy and encourages college campuses to enforce a smoking ban in both indoor and outdoor areas. To that end, many community colleges are now adopting no-smoking policies that are consistent throughout the entire college campus, both indoors and out. Colleges that did provide areas for smokers in the past are now doing away with those locations and requiring students to actually leave the campus grounds completely before lighting up.

This video offers an overview of the American College Health Association's approach to student wellbeing.

Smoking Ban Coming to Jackson Community College

By the first of August, Jackson Community College campuses will all be completely smoke-free. The JCC Board of Trustees has agreed to issue a full smoking ban by that time, which will apply to the main campus in Summit Township, the Adrian and Hillsdale campuses, the flight center at Jackson County Airport, and the Dahlem Conservatory. The policy applies to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, medical marijuana, smoking pipes, and smokeless tobacco. According to a report at, the ban will prohibit both the use and sales of the products.

Howard Community College Now Smoke-Free

At Howard Community College, the new smoking ban is already in effect, keeping college students across the campus from lighting up until they are safely off college property. The new policy began May 31 and has resulted in the removal of smoking areas just in time for the summer session. Instead of buckets flanking these areas for smokers to deposit their butts, there are now signs indicating that Howard Community College is a "smoke-free" campus.

While some students are delighted with the idea of a smoke-free campus, some believe the full ban that includes outdoor areas goes a bit further than the college needed to go. Shannon Willing, a student at Howard, told the Columbia Patch, "Some of the smoking areas that were designated smoking areas were kind of in-between where people would walk normally. And if you don't smoke, then the smoke would be right in front of your face."

Willing added, "There is one smoking area that is right in front of the English building, and that smoke was always right in front of your face. So I think it's a good idea to have some restrictions on it, but I don't know if it's necessary to have the option fully taken away."

The policy follows the results of a survey that showed the majority of the students and staff at Howard favored the idea of a smoke-free campus. Becoming smoke-free has put Howard in the same category as other Maryland colleges, including Towson and Salisbury universities and Carroll, Frederick, and Montgomery community colleges.

This video from KGUN9-TV in Tucson, Arizona, reports on the banning of smoking on all University of Arizona campuses.

California Schools Given Authority to Enforce No-Smoking Bans

Although rules against smoking have been in place for California community colleges, until recently, there have not been any protocols in place to show schools how to enforce the rules. That changed last month when Assembly Higher Education Chair Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) wrote the legislation, dubbed AB 795, authorizing colleges to properly enforce current smoking and tobacco ordinances. The measure was introduced to the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, where it was overwhelmingly approved, according to a report in East County Magazine.

The provisions in this new piece of legislation include:

  • The ability for colleges to set enforcement standards for their individual campuses
  • Impose fines for first, second, and third offenses, with penalties limited to $100
  • The option to post signs stating the tobacco policy of the school where smoking is either prohibited or permitted
  • The choice to share the smoking policy with students and faculty, including enforcement measures that would be taken

In introducing his bill, Block told East County Magazine, "California's college campuses should be healthy learning environments where students do not have to walk through clouds of smoke in order to get to class. The danger of secondhand smoke is clear, yet campus officials are unable to enforce current smoking and tobacco ordinances meant to promote cleaner and healthier campuses. AB 795 gives colleges and universities the authority and tools to enforce current policies and cite those who violate them."

With smoking bans in force across the country, it is no wonder that college campuses are joining in the trend. As more campuses ban smoking and tobacco use both indoors and out, college students will either have to kick the habit or find areas off campus that allow them to light up and enjoy their smokes without facing hefty fines or penalties.

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