Written by myself for Viewpoints, my Community College newspaper.

I attend Riverside Community College. (I'm new to this. Please, try to cut me some slack, and positive cricism is always appreciated.

"What we'd like to see is an end to smoking," Jeanne Herrick, an R.N. and employee of the Health Services department said. Patty Smith, the Health Director at Riverside Community College also shares this sentiment.

In May of 2002, an idea was proposed by Patty Smith to the Academic Senate which would ban cigarette smoking in nearly all areas of the three campuses, including the parking lots. The proposal, originally proposed by a group of students calling themselves the Peer Health Education Program, made no provisions for certain designated smoking areas and was consequently protested and re-written by the Associated Students of Riverside Community College (ASRCC).

A newer, updated proposal made it to the table on May 29th of this year. The updated resolution, authored by various members of the student government, allows for the addition of designated smoking areas. It will almost certainly be passed in a similar incarnation of its current form some time in the future.

When asked to comment on the subject, most of the student government voices their support for the proposal. The Student Trustee believes that a campus wide non-smoking policy should be considered. Vice President of the Norco campus, Mandy Lynch, said that it would be a "fair decision" on the sides of smokers and non-smokers alike. Cheryl Osbourne, Student Activities Coordinator at Norco agreed, saying that "the proposal protects the rights of all students."

The Riverside campus president said that the proposal to ban smoking on campus would be beneficial to the students as a whole, and that it would set a positive example for other schools around the country.

According to a poll conducted by the Health Services department of the Riverside Community College District on May 22nd, only 24% of the sampled population believed that smoking on campus was a problem, while 46% said that it wasn’t a problem at all. However, 52% of the people polled said that they would be in support of a completely smoke-free campus, while 70% said that they would be for the new rules with only the stipulation that there should be designated smoking areas. 80% of those surveyed consider themselves to be non-smokers.

In an informal poll conducted by Viewpoints, even if there were designated non-smoking zones, only 47% of the non-smoking students polled agreed that smoking should be banned on campus. One student, Kelly Showalter, said that "We're all grown-ups here," and that, therefore, our liberties as adults should be protected.

The resolution itself, drafted on the 29th of May, states that tobacco use would be prohibited from "employees, students, and visitors on District property in the designated non-smoking zones." There is no concrete information on how many smoking zones there would be, where those zones would reside, or how many square feet each zone would encompass.

The District Senate Resolution Non-Smoking proposal, drafted by ASRCC, also states that "Violators shall be subjected to disciplinary action as stated by the Student, Classified Staff, and Faculty Handbooks. Violators shall also be referred to the Health Services for Smoking Cessation programs and information."

The resolution does not address how the rules would be enforced, what "disciplinary action" entails, or whether or not the referral to Health Services would demand any mandatory participation in smoking cessation programs by the alleged violators.

Patty Smith, when asked to comment on when the resolution would take effect, said that it will likely be enforced starting on January 1st, 2003.