GCC may tighten smoking restrictions

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Smoking at Glendale Community College could soon become more restrictive as officials try to strike what they say is a balance between cutting down on secondhand smoke and not forcing students to go off the crowded campus to light up.

College officials are expected to designate eight smoking areas on the Verdugo campus. Current policy allows smoking in areas not marked with "No Smoking" signs.

The college is exempt from a Glendale law that forbids smoking in most public spaces, trustees said.

"I hear from the board, it sounds like we can make this happen," board President Tony Tartaglia said. "Those that do want to smoke go to the designated smoking areas."

While the change in college policy still tolerates smoking, it pushes it away from classroom and dining areas, Supt./President Dawn Lindsay said.

"It reflects our respect of the community and students in general, and to find a compromise and be respective of smokers and nonsmokers," she said. "For a student to come on campus, find a parking spot, attend class, then leave to have a cigarette, we think would be an issue for students who are smokers."

Armine Jimenez, the "fresh-air ambassador" for Glendale's smoking restrictions, said she gets consistent complaints about the secondhand smoke at Glendale Community College, but she cannot do anything about it.

"This is what their board of trustees has decided," she said.

The campus might become smoke-free in the future, student government determines those priorities, which change year-to-year, Lindsay said.

"What we're trying to figure out is, how we support a student campus [where] smoking is something that's pretty prevalent," Lindsay said. "We can meet the needs of smokers who don't have to leave campus for a cigarette and deal with the issues of secondary smoke and litter."

Many of the eight smoking areas would be in campus parking lots, officials said.

Student trustee Janet Shamilian said students support the new policy, and a survey by a student-run environmental club also indicated there was widespread support.

The policy is expected to be in place this fall, Lindsay said.

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