By CHELO GRUBB
Pima Community College may become the latest college to join the trend of banning smoking on campus.
Joseph Labuda, president of PCC’s Faculty Senate, said faculty members are split on the issue.
“Mainly, it’s people who don’t want smoking on campus versus those who think it would be difficult to enforce,” he said.
Labuda counts himself with the second group — he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t relish walking through clouds of smoke.
However, he worries about enforcing a ban and alienating students who smoke.
David Bea, the college’s executive vice chancellor for finance and administration, came to the October Faculty Senate meeting to discuss the challenges of banning smoking across the institution.
During the meeting, he read aloud a portion of the Smoke-Free Arizona Act — a 2006 statute that prohibits smoking in most enclosed public places and places of employment.
The passage said all employees would be responsible for letting people know when they were smoking illegally.
Bea expressed concern about individuals confronting each other about the issue.
The college’s current policy doesn’t allow smoking indoors or within 25 feet of entrances, exits areas storing flammable materials and outdoor seating areas where groups assemble, such as bleachers.
Bea also said that the college has noted that PCC’s smoking policy needs a makeover.
Administrators are discussing three possibilities with the chancellor’s cabinet, the staff council and students:
• Continuing with the current policy with enhanced enforcement and better training
• Banning smoking at the college
• Designating smoking and nonsmoking areas
The college also needs to decide how to handle smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes and nicotine gum, he said.
Bea will make a recommendation on changes to the policy in December.
Colleges nationwide have been banning smoking on campus.
Last year, the 10 Maricopa Community College branches banned all tobacco products on every campus.
The ban went into effect July 1. The ban is part of the Maricopa BreathEasy initiative.
According to maricopa.edu, the ban includes parking lots, rooftops, classrooms and vehicles on MCC grounds.
The tobacco ban also means that smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes are not allowed on campuses.
At MCC, consequences for violating the policy are still being developed, but district officials said warnings are issued for first-time offenders.
Arizona State University recently announced that as of Aug. 1, 2013, smoking will not be allowed on campus.
Labuda noted that Pima isn’t discussing a campus-by-campus ban.
If it pans out at all, the ban would be college wide and would have to be approved by the Board of Governors.
“I think it’s one of those things where if people cooperate, it will be a lot easier to avoid a ban,” Labuda said.
Flagstaff has one of the toughest smoke-free regulations in the state, but Northern Arizona University has yet to talk about a school wide ban.