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New smoking, tobacco use policy going into effect at Yavapai College

Smoking ramada installed at Yavapai College’s Chino Valley campus.

Courtesy photo, file

Smoking ramada installed at Yavapai College’s Chino Valley campus.

Yavapai College students and employees received the official notice on Tuesday, April 26, that the college’s smoking and tobacco use policy has passed official review and will go into effect on Aug. 22.  

The policy allows smoking on Yavapai College campuses within a limited number of designated outdoor areas, according to a news release. Many of these areas are already constructed, marked with signage and furnished with tobacco product waste receptacles.

As set by the college, smoking includes, but is not limited to: carrying a lighted or smoldering cigarette, cigar, pipe and inhaling e-cigarettes or vaporizers.   

Smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and chew are also prohibited within college vehicles, buildings and residence halls, and within 25 feet of building entries, doors, windows and air vents.

No such restrictions have yet been placed on what someone may do inside their personal vehicle.

Yavapai College President Dr. Penny Wills first made the announcement that there would be a policy change in February.

At the time, she said the 25-foot law set by the state was simply not working and that stricter measures had to be taken to ensure healthy campus environments for those not wishing to be exposed to potentially harmful substances.

“This isn’t a power move,” Wills said in February. “We’re just looking after the health and wellbeing of our students and employees.”

The college’s Human Resources Director, Monica Belknap, headed the Smoking/Tobacco Committee that developed the policy after conducting open forums at various district campuses and receiving feedback from students, community members, faculty and staff.

She said that the majority of the opposition to the original proposition of becoming a smoke-free campus came from military veterans and those who attend vocational courses through the college’s Career & Technical Education Center.

However, since the announcement was made that the college would compromise by only restricting smoking or tobacco use to certain areas, there hasn’t been much push back.

“For the mass majority, I think they believe it’s about time we took action on this,” Belknap said Tuesday. “During the busy season, there have just been tons of students smoking their little e-cigarettes and whatnot.”

One aspect of the policy that Belknap anticipates being a bit of an issue is regulating the use of the smokeless tobacco products.

“It’s just tough to tell whether they have it in their mouth or not,” Belknap said.

As part of the effort, the college has also partnered with Yavapai Regional Medical Center to offer its students and employees the opportunity to attend free tobacco use cessation clinics.

To view the official Yavapai College Smoking and Tobacco Use Policy, go to http://bit.ly/1rymQRN.