Glendale Community College wraps up first smoke-free semester

Since Glendale Community College officials turned the college into a smoking-free campus last spring, turnout at the weekly nicotine anonymous meetings has been slim.

And, during the fall semester, the college’s police officers issued 15 citations to students who were caught smoking on campus, according to campus Police Chief Gary Montecuollo.

Jessica Gillooly, chair of the college’s psychology department who has overseen the meetings throughout the fall semester, said few students, professors or staff members have attended the meetings.

Even so, the college will continue to provide them during the spring semester as a place where students and others can discuss their approach to quitting smoking.

The Glendale Community College trustees embraced making the campus smoke-free, and proposed the idea last spring, about two years after the college established limited areas on campus where people could smoke.

Ann Ransford, president of the Glendale Community College trustees, said she has heard non-smokers express their delight that the college is not allowing smoking.

“I certainly think it’s in the best interest of the college and it’s in the best interest of an educational institution to be modeling what is healthy behavior,” she said.

The new policy warns that violators could pay a $100 fine, and states that smoking is not allowed anywhere on campus — even inside a vehicle parked in a campus parking lot.

Gillooly said she’s exhausted all efforts to inform students about the nicotine-anonymous meetings, which began during the fall semester, but she is hopeful that more students and staff will attend this spring.

In the meantime, the campus is not as littered as it once was with cigarette butts and cartons, Gillooly said, adding that she believes she’s seeing fewer students smoking in front of the campus, too.

“I do have more students that just anecdotally tell me that because of the ban — and they recognize [smoking] will be banned at four-year [schools] — they are stopping themselves,” she said. “I think it’s been positive, even though we haven’t had a great success in students going to the nicotine-anonymous program.”

For student Phillip Harzmann, 32, the smoking ban has been an inconvenience, he said. Recently, he was smoking on the pedestrian bridge leading to the front of the campus.

“On Mondays and Wednesdays, my class is at the other side of the campus, and there’s nowhere over there to smoke,” he said. “I have to come all the way out here. It just leads to people smoking on campus. When they had [designated] smoking areas, it was like, all right, no problem.”

Harzmann said that most people used the ash trays that were once located in the designated smoking areas, but without them, he often spots cigarette butts in planters, especially the ones outside the campus library, he said.

“These people sneak out, have a cigarette and walk away because they don’t want to have to come all the way out here between classes,” he added.

Fellow student Andy Shahgulyan, 19, who was smoking on the outskirts of campus, said he wished there were still designated smoking areas, if only for ash trays for disposal of cigarette butts.

“They should at least make some place at least off campus, near the parking lot, so people can go and smoke without risking getting a [citation],” he said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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