OCC may become smoke free

When they return to campus, students will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on the OCC campus, including the so-called "Smoker's Circle." 

With the Fall 2020 semester entirely online, Orange Coast College has made some changes on campus while students are at home. With the completion of the College Center building as well as the opening of the Harbour, OCC has also implemented a new non-smoking policy. 

As of September 7, OCC will be going entirely smoke and tobacco-free along with Coastline College. The new policy prohibits any kind of smoking on campus, including smoking in cars, the parking lot, student housing and anywhere that is technically on campus, not including the public sidewalks outside of campus. 

In March 2018, a student from the Smoke/Tobacco-Free Task Force on campus reached out to Health Education Instructor Anna Hanlon, after an administrator mentioned her as someone willing to help push for a new non-smoking policy. OCC’s Smoke/Tobacco-Free Task Force was formed after the school received an ‘F’ rating on the California and University Smoke/Tobacco-Free Policy Report Card. Partnered with Hanlon, the Smoke/Tobacco-Free Task Force received a grant through the Truth Initiative.

“What motivated me was my own commitment to public health, to the health of our students, to the health of our faculty, to the health of our staff, knowing that smoking is a cause of lung cancer,” Hanlon said, “it also contributes to cardiovascular disease and a lot of other diseases.”

In a survey conducted by OCC, one third of students and one-third of faculty members on campus had experienced immediate health effects due to second-hand smoke on campus such as coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, or allergic reactions. The same survey also concluded that 69% of people at OCC have at least some level of concern about the effects of smoking and tobacco use on campus. 

“I think OCC going smoke-free is a good idea,” said Wren Morris, a medical assisting major student at OCC. “I never really noticed that there were designated areas. I just saw people vaping or smoking outside of classes and wherever, and it did bother me a bit as I am somebody with respiratory issues...I think going smoke-free will make campus safer and make a lot of people feel a lot more comfortable attending class.”

However, that still leaves 39% of people who aren’t concerned with smoking on campus. “OCC should literally just let people smoke,” said Emerson Trotter, a dual-enrolled student at OCC. “We aren’t on campus right now anyway so it doesn’t really matter. People will find ways to smoke anyway.” 

The Student Health Center also offers a tobacco cessation program to help students kick their smoking habits. This program includes seminars, classes and individual counseling.

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