CSU OKs tough smoking policy

By Chelsea J. Carter
Wednesday September 18, 2002

LONG BEACH— Trustees of the nation’s largest public university tentatively approved a tough new smoking policy Tuesday for the university’s 23 campuses that includes the authority to cite violators. 

The policy would also give California State University presidents the authority to set smoking regulations, such as banning smoking within 20 feet of campus buildings. 

A final vote, which is expected to easily pass, was scheduled for Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting. 

“In light of the well established health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke and the desire of the CSU to provide an environment for learning that is as free of health hazards as possible,” the staff recommends adoption, said Jackie R. McClain, CSU’s vice chancellor of human resources. 

Under the policy, a CSU president would be required to meet with faculty and staff before setting a campus smoking policy because it could affect working conditions. Presidents also would have to meet with students. 

Violation of the policy could result in misdemeanor citations, McClain told the board. 

Although some campus presidents could ban smoking altogether, that was deemed unlikely. 

Smoking has been banned in California’s public buildings since 1994. CSU also prohibits smoking within five feet of the entrances and exits of buildings, a limit set by state law. 

A student group first lobbied CSU for stricter smoking policies in May. The group, C.O.U.G.H. (Campuses Organized and United for Good Health), addressed the dangers of secondhand smoke and asked the board to delegate authority to campus presidents to prohibit smoking within 20 feet of university buildings. 

“I would encourage the presidents as you evaluate your campus to ... embrace the recommendations the students came forward with,” said Trustee Frederick W. Pierce. “I think that’s in the best health interests of those visiting our campuses.”