New smoking policy leaves SF State students in limbo

The lonely bench near the Radio and Television Building was demolished before the fall 2017 semester began, and if students haven’t noticed the “no designated smoking area” picket signs posted on campus, then the new smoking policy might take some time to be enforced.

Executive Order 1108 cleared the way for the bench to be removed and is a systemwide California State University policy regarding a smoke and tobacco-free environment.

Students are at a crossroads when it comes to the new order, which supersedes Executive Order 599. Richard Nizzardini, interim director of Health Promotion and Wellness, said in an email the reason for the removal of the benches is, “to support the community in understanding that these are no longer designated smoking areas in our effort to support a smoke and tobacco-free campus environment.”

“So I have to leave the premises to go and smoke now? Yeah that really sucks,” said first semester SF State sociology major Kaylee Kenyon said. “It feels like I’m being pushed out and can’t really freely do what I want to do, you know?”

Kenyon said she does not know the details about Executive Order 1108, but assumes it was a CSU system law and so it wasn’t just this university that was enforced with the new policy.

Kenyon said Order 1108 does not make sense for a school that promotes diversity and really makes it obvious that they do not want students or faculty to smoke on campus.

On Sept. 1, according to a mass email sent out on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, Vice President and Title IX coordinator Luoluo Hong said in an email that the ban on smoking and tobacco products applies to “students, faculty, staff and visitors to any university campus or facility” in order to promote the health of all 23 campus communities in the CSU system.

“So they used this facade that we’re going to stop tobacco smoking but they really wanted to get rid of all smokers,” said Robert Larsen, SF State history major, said.

Larsen said he does not think the new policy is going to be very effective and he thinks Order 1108 will not stop people from smoking tobacco, marijuana or anything else on campus.

Nizzardini said in an email that prior to the implementation of this policy, all drugs, including marijuana (medically prescribed or otherwise), had never been permitted at SF State and CSU Executive Order 1108 continues to uphold this mandate.

“The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, civility and cooperation of all members of the campus community, including visitors,” Nizzardini said in an email.

Nizzardini said if the compliance is grounded in an informed and educated campus community, then those students who violate the policy may be approached by individuals called “BREATHE Advocates” who can offer resources and referrals for quitting.

BREATHE is a task force affiliated with the Health Promotion and Wellness department and are trained to encourage an environment of compliance with the smoke and tobacco-free campus policy at SF State. It can connect students, faculty, staff and community members who are interested in quitting tobacco, smoking or e-cigarettes to resources for support.

Nizzardini said University police officers, as well as community service specialists, may also approach those in violation of Executive Order 1108. He said regular violators may go through administrative follow-up through the Dean of Students’ office or Human Resources department.

Students at SF State who suffer from anxiety, however, feel disrespected to say the least.

“Where can I go now to relieve my anxiety?” said Imin Musayev, an SF State computer science major who has been diagnosed with PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) said.

“[For] a person like me who suffers from anxiety, I need time, like at least five minutes to let myself smoke anything. It’s been proven through science,” Musayev said. “Tobacco helps me relieve my anxiety and everyone’s body is different.

Parkmerced and University Park South housing is right across the street from where the majority of SF State students smoke on Arellano Street. Musayev said it would not be appropriate to just smoke across the street and it eliminates from meeting friends and people on campus and people who can relate to battling anxiety.

“If  SF State reserved just one spot on campus, such as the quad, then the dynamic would change the social aspect of the culture at SF State in which the new policy has failed to acknowledge,” Igor Stepanov, a marketing major at SF State, said.

“Fuck the bench, at least let me stand and smoke,” Stepanov said. “What I heard is that if any task force tells you to go across the street and smoke, and then you get hit by a car, it’s the schools fault because they made you go across the street.”

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