As of July 1, 2012, the Smoke-Free Arizona Act (Prop 201), which prohibits smoking in public places as well as places of employment with the exception of designated smoking areas, is changing.
The act was approved on Nov. 7, 2006, and went into effect on May 1, 2007.
The Tobacco-Free Administrative Regulation (Smoke-Free Arizona Act adopted by Mesa Community College) will be implemented by Chancellor Rufus Glasper of the MCCCD, prohibiting the use of tobacco product for students and employees on community college campuses in the Maricopa District.
“Effective July 1, 2012, Maricopa Community Colleges will be smoke-free and tobacco-free. As of that date, there will be no smoking or use of any other tobacco on any district property,” Glasper said in a recent Breathe Easy Tobacco Free-Smoke Free video with students from the IGNITE Tobacco Prevention Program.
“On Nov. 17, the day of the Great American Smoke-Out, we’ll launch an initiative that includes educational programs, tobacco sensation programs, and other features that will make it easier to kick the habit,” Glasper said during the video on helpful ways for tobacco users to quit.
Though Glasper made this decision to promote healthy living, students around MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus feel their rights are being violated.
Sean Barrett, auto mechanics major, feels the changes are being made as a “conspiracy theory” and the district is banning a product that helps calm students on campus.
“We all know cigarettes are not good for us, but it’s our choice whether or not we can smoke, and it’s our right so (the district) shouldn’t be able to take that right away … I just think it’s wrong that they can sit here and set rules that don’t really make any sense,” he said.
“A lot of people (are) stressful through classes, and then if they can’t smoke a cigarette they’ll lose their mind, then they won’t be able to think straight in their class,” Dayrue George, psychology major, said on the dropout rate for college students.
George also said that the smoking tables were a way for him, as well as new students, to make friends.
Music major Adam Wilson is also against the new smoke-free regulations, and if tickets were issued constantly for smoking violations, he would not be deterred to smoke on campus.
“If it becomes a smoke-free Maricopa College, it’s not going to deter people from smoking on campus because if there’s a will there’s a way. People will find somewhere where security doesn’t go and everybody will just start going there to smoke,” he said.
The new regulation will take away all smoking areas on community college campuses, prohibiting the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products within the Maricopa District, and will ban smoking in vehicles on Maricopa District property.
“I see that the chancellor has gone and he has banned tobacco use without enforcing the rules (already in place). We’re not enforcing the rule as they should be as well which might lead the chancellor to believe that it’s a bigger problem than it is,” ASMCC’s Executive VP and Senate Chair Ray Arecco said.
Arecco also said that ASMCC had a smoke-free opposition passed in the spring of 2010 co-sponsored by more than 20 student senators. ASMCC still opposes the new regulation and is forming a commission to repeal the smoke-free initiative.
“Senate’s perspective is this was already passed, and we still resolve that this is the case because this was already passed. We still oppose a smoke-free initiative. This policy is tobacco-free so it has nothing to do with smoking and everything to do with tobacco,” Arecco said.