College enforces new smoking policy

Glendale Community College police have issued 79 warnings and six cigarette-related littering tickets since they began enforcing a new campus smoking policy in March, officials said.

The college Board of Trustees in August adopted the guidelines that limit smoking to seven designated areas along the perimeter of campus in an effort to curb secondhand smoke and to reduce the amount of cigarette butts and ashes on campus. The new policy also moves the college closer to city law, which bans smoking in most public spaces.

Enforcement was delayed until spring while the college made changes to student materials and put up signs, officials said.

“The students did a survey before we made this change, and it was widely supported that we have designated smoking rather than designated non-smoking areas,” said Ron Nakasone, vice president of administrative services.

Early efforts have focused largely on education, said college police Capt. Erin Kurasz, whose officers only have the authority to warn, not cite, violators of the new smoking policy. Campus police have cited six people for littering, which carries a $250 fine.

Cigarette butts account for a large portion of the littering that occurs on campus, Kurasz noted.

“We have noticed a big difference, and I have gotten several emails from faculty and staff saying that they are so happy with the enforcement we are doing,” Kurasz said.

Student Kai Mendoza, 19, said she has been smoking for three years, but doesn’t oppose the restrictions.

“I think it is fair; there are some people that don’t like the secondhand smoking,” Mendoza said.

Daniel Armstrong, 19, looked unconcerned recently as he smoked on the library steps — outside a designated smoking area.

“I don’t really see them enforcing it,” Armstrong said. “I haven’t ever been talked to or anything. I see the non-smoking signs in certain areas, and I stay away from open windows and open doors.”

Since many students smoke, making the campus completely smoke-free wouldn’t work, he added.

“Most of the people here are adults; they are mature,” he said. “They know not to smoke indoors or blow it in people’s faces.”


Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World