By SHAQ DAVIS
Starting this August, Pima Community College tobacco users will be confined to smoking areas around the college’s campuses.
On Dec.11 of last year, Pima’s governing board voted to limit the use of tobacco to specifically marked spaces around campus.
PCC officials said the policy is designed to allow non-smokers to be free of second-hand smoke and smokers to continue to enjoy their products.
The issue was first submitted in September 2012, then discussed and studied by the college for more than a year. A college-wide survey was conducted to gauge response to a change in Pima’s smoking policy.
Out of about 4,700 students and employees surveyed, 78 percent supported the idea to specifically designate areas for smokers. Another 70 percent agreed that increasingly popular electronic cigarettes should be banned from inside PCC classrooms and buildings.
David Bea, PCC’s vice chancellor of finance, said the majority of participants encouraged a change to using tobacco around PCC campuses.
In an Oct. 9 board meeting, he noted that the new smoking policy would be easier to enforce.
PCC student Stephen Kass feels there will be health benefits and that the policy will be easier to maintain.
The designated areas will not be too far for smokers, according to Pima officials.
“Providing there’s not one smoking section a quarter mile to get to, as long as they make it reasonable to get to, then yes,” said student Gene Garland.
Andrea Garland, also a student, added there should be a minimum of two designations for convenience when going to classes.
Anyone found to be in violation of policy would be asked to move. Under the code of conduct, students and employees must comply.
The spaces will have ashtrays and covered benches provided, according to a Dec. 12 press release.
The previous policy SPG-2303/AA prohibited smoking 25 feet from entrances and exit areas. It also limited smoking to being outside only.
Policy 2304 now includes e-cigarettes on the list of products to be used outside designations to adhere to the Smoke-Free Arizona Act passed in November 2006.
The first phase of the estimated $25,000 project is set to be completed by the 2014 fall semester.