LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A call to action for designated smoking areas on campus

Story By: Leon Velasco, FCC Student

Dear FCC Students,

Earlier in the semester I planned a Community Resource Fair for The National Great American Smoke Out which was to feature not only the education, awareness and prevention of smoking and secondhand smoke but to inform the students on campus of the different outside resources available to them such as Women Infants & Children (WIC), Clinica Sierra Vista, The Sanctuary (Youth Services), Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission Health Services Clinic that provides free health check-up and their Rural Tobacco Education Program, several other agencies and student clubs.

The main focus was to make students aware of the new proposal for “Designated Smoking Areas” that is in process; as well as clean up the toxic butts left behind by smokers.

According to current FCC Policy (BP & AR 6850), it is prohibited to smoke on balconies, bathrooms, stairwells, handicap ramps, and within the walking perimeters of the buildings yet many smokers still smoke in those prohibited areas and when approached asking them to refrain from smoking in undesignated areas it is to no avail because many smokers get offended, verbally abusive and at times physically violent as was my case.

Although the event didn’t quite get off the ground as hoped, one agency arrived early and set up their visual display and informational pamphlets.  In the hour and a half that she was set up, she had no less than 40 students approach her with questions and requested assistance on how to quit smoking either for themselves, a relative or a friend.  Some of them were even holding a lighted cigarette in hand (breaking FCC policy of smoking in a non-designated area).

One person left her with a lasting impression as he approached her table, cigarette in one hand, looking at the visual display of tobacco heart disease and lungs and her Tobacco Jar with Tar then turning to her blowing smoke in her face while muttering “I will never quit smoking, no matter what”.

That smoker added more fuel to the fire that ignited this campaign in the first place proving my point that some smokers do not care about non-smokers.

If you are a non-smoker and are tired of inhaling second-hand smoke on campus and would like to help in getting Fresno City College to have designated smoking areas contact me at [email protected] and we can discuss how you can help.