Students attending the Peralta Colleges (Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland) will be able to “Escape the Vape,” thanks to a new policy on e-cigarette use which has been added to the existing prohibitions against smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products in all indoor areas and most outdoor areas at the four Peralta Colleges.
On March 15, Peralta Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D., updated the District’s administrative code prohibiting smoking to include the use of vaping products, as summarized in the district’s 2015-16 Personal Safety Handbook.
“Our goal is to create a safe and healthy environment for all of our students and staff. Secondhand emissions from ‘vaping’ devices contain toxins and have no place on our campuses,” Chancellor Laguerre said.
The Peralta Colleges joins the University of California system in banning the use of electronic cigarettes in all enclosed areas and most outdoor areas. Fines for violations begin at $40 and will be implemented after a six-month grace period.
A new state bill, AB 1594 (McCarty-D), introduced in January 2016, bans the use of all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, on all state and community college campuses. The bill has passed the Assembly floor and is headed to the state senate. If the bill passes in the Senate and is then signed by the governor, the law would take effect Jan. 1, 2018. Peralta’s new rules will begin protecting students and staff long before the state “catches up.”
As with most tobacco control efforts in California, the move to control and limit public use of electronic cigarettes came first from local communities. The first Tobacco-Less Club was established in 2011 at Berkeley City College, and in 2013, student members were the first to raise the issue of restricting electronic cigarette use on campus with school administrators. There is now a Tobacco-Less club on the Merritt campus as well.
The clubs have also been educating students about the health harms of flavored tobacco products, as well, which are being heavily marketed to youth in the form of low price candy and fruit-flavored little cigars.
The revised Peralta administrative procedure code on smoking can be found here: http://web.peralta.edu/trustees/files/2013/12/AP-3570-Smoking.pdf
Visit the Tobacco-Less Club website for more information: http://www.smokingbites.org/.