Smoking ban rightfully includes private vehicles
The Everett Community College Board of Trustees on Tuesday night approved a campus ban on the use of tobacco products. The policy, which starts September 1, includes prohibiting tobacco "usage in any vehicle parked on College property." In other words, students can't go out to their cars to smoke.
That may seem excessive, but Patrick Sisneros, Everett vice president of college services, says that without the vehicle restriction, the parking lots would become the de facto designated smoking areas and a total tobacco ban would be too difficult to enforce.
Sisneros said that making the campus tobacco free may be an inconvenience to some smokers, but "if we nudge some people to quit or not start" that's consistent with the role the college already plays in improving students' health.
"We have a new fitness center and are building a new nursing and health sciences building," he said. Having designated smoking areas, whether in cars or covered kiosks, doesn't fit in anymore.
"There's a larger issue here in using education to influence people's health and working toward bringing down health care costs," Sisneros said.
Everett becomes the fourth community college in the state to adopt a tobacco ban. At Clark College in Vancouver, tobacco use is "is not permitted within the perimeter of any Clark College property." Lower Columbia College in Longview and South Puget Sound College ban tobacco use except in private vehicles.
The action by the Everett board of trustees takes the tobacco ban to its logical conclusion and sends the right message to its students. A tobacco free campus should be just that, tobacco free.
(Full disclosure: I'm a former smoker who teaches an online class at Everett Community College. The last thing I want to see when I get out of my car in the parking lot is a pile of cigarette butts and ashes that some smoker has dumped there. So double hooray for the trustees.)
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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