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College of the Canyons toughens smoking policy

Cards to be passed out informing smokers of policy change, offering resources to help quit

Posted: March 25, 2009 11:59 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 8:00 a.m.
College of the Canyons hopes to make its Valencia and Canyon Country campuses smoke-free by the end of the spring semester, a college official said Wednesday.

"With time, this policy will become the way it's always been," Michael Wilding, assistant superintendent said during a board meeting.

The community college updated its policy on smoking and tobacco use in August 2008 by designating the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses as smoke-free.

Under the new policy, smoking is allowed in the parking lots at least 50 feet from any building and in a designated area near Cougar Stadium on the Valencia campus.

Starting this week, the college will station portable signs throughout the campuses to notify students that the campus is smoke-free.

The signs read "To promote public health, College of the Canyons has adopted new rules for smoking and tobacco use."

Permanent no-smoking signs will be installed throughout the campuses and students will receive e-mails about the policy changes, Wilding said.

Campus safety officers patrolling the campuses will hand out business cards to smokers in a "gentle and collegial way" letting them know of the policy change, Wilding said.

The cards will also advise students of campus resources that can help them quit smoking, he said.

The college will begin enforcing the no-smoking policy after spring break ends, Wilding said.

The punishment for smoking on campus starts with warnings and leads to suspension and possible expulsion, he said.

The community college updated the policy developed in 1999 because construction projects and a campus expansion took over previously designated smoking areas.

A survey generated by the college's student government found that 67 percent of students did not want smoking on the Valencia campus and 69 percent favored making the Canyon Country campus smoke-free.


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