Public safety cracking down on smoking violations

A pack of cigarettes sits outside building 26. Eduardo Perez / MOUNTAINEER

The campus will be enforcing new smoking regulations for all students within the coming semesters. According to campus public safety officials, their safety officers will gradually begin enforcing these regulations. Joe Carl, public safety officer and investigator said that once the smoking regulation is here, it is probably going to stay. Even though the school has taken measures making sure that these smoking regulations are known, it still seems like students don’t want to follow them. “There are already signs posted around campus that students can’t smoke within 20 feet of a doorway entrance,” Carl said. “And most students don’t follow that.” Mt. SAC is not the first place to crack down on smokers in public areas. Last summer, the city of Los Angeles put similar rules into effect.  The Los Angeles County’s smoking ordinance makes it illegal to light up a cigarette within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas, including food trucks and within 40 feet of food kiosks and trucks. “Bars, nightclubs and buildings are exempt from this policy,” said NBC LA. And in the same spirit, Mt. SAC is making similar policies. "Students aren't allowed to smoke within 20 feet of any door or operable window,” Carl said. In order to make this easier on students, campus officials are making designated smoking areas. “We are working on having regulated areas here where people can smoke,” Carl said. Campus safety is taking preventative measures such as these in order to make the full transition as easy as possible for students once it gets passed. “Once it is passed, we will be sure students are notified via the portals and written flyers will be posted up on campus,” Carl said.  “Because the campus has not had rules on smoking for such a long time we want to notify them before any kind of fines come into effect, just to be fair,” Carl said. As far as students following the smoking regulation, Carl says he sees a lot of students not abiding by the signs that are already posted.  “We see some students follow the signs and we don’t [cite them.]  Once the regulation goes into effect, we will be sure to cite the offenses,” Carl said. Some students don’t abide by the already posted signs on campus but many offenders do understand the reasoning behind the rules.  Ricardo Lopez, 19-year-old criminal justice major says, he knows about the rules but he really doesn’t follow them.  “It’s stupid but at the same time I understand,” he said.  “You shouldn’t be smoking where someone doesn’t like it.” Some students do want the regulation to go into effect. “Of course they need to enforce it.  The signs are up but I don’t see anyone following them,” Gilbert Torres, 18, undecided, said. Public safety is planning to enforce these smoking regulations with fines. The severity of the fines will vary on the number of offenses.  That means the first offense will be less severe than the third and security can ticket offenders who are not abiding by the rules. “They may give them a warning on the first one, but after that we will start ticketing offenders,” Carl said.  Although public safety will fine offenders who violate these new smoking rules, Carl said that the smoking regulation is here to help students, not to hurt them.  “We’re not here just to make the students life miserable,” he said.  “We’re here to keep them safe, keep their property safe for the campus community.” - Mercedes Barba A&E Editor