CSUSM takes steps towards a smoke free campus


Photo by Ryan Van Stralen

Left to right: Luke Zuniga, Demi Akindele, AJ Armendi, Cheri Barnes, Daniell Derry advocate a smoke and vapor free campus.

The Safety, Health & Sustainability organization held its annual Let’s Clear the Air Together event to institute advocacy for a smoke-free campus, promote awareness that tobacco use creates toxic waste and inform students about the impact of second- hand smoke.

Approximately 40 students gathered at Kellogg Plaza to listen to faculty experts and student volunteers about the dangers of smoking and the specifics of CSUSM’s smoking policy on Nov. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Daniell Derry, a senior and Clear the Air ambassador, says their goal is to “make sure there is no smoking or vaping on campus.”

She said that the on- line Clear the Air Tracker is a tool that is accessible through their website and Instagram bio to report tobacco and vape related litter seen on campus. If litter is seen, anyone can fill out an informational survey about what they saw and where, and someone will be sent to clean it up or inform on the no-smoking policy.

The tool is just one institution CSUSM has created to limit smoking on campus.

Dr. Devon Romero, a kinesiology assistant professor and faculty advisor on the CSUSM Smoking Policy and implementation, explained how in 2012, CSUSM had 23 designated smoking areas, which eventually downsized to five by 2017.

Spring 2020 will be the ninth annual Cigarette Butt Clean Up, where 60 volunteers take one hour to clean up as many butts as possible to track the amount of litter from year to year. The most common places where butts are found are obscure areas near the parking structure, the UVA and around the library.

The Environmental Stewards Association had a table to educate on how tobacco waste turns into toxic waste, as well as the harmfulness of secondhand smoke. Through the association’s members, students learned that cigarette butts are the number one waste product found on beaches and on freeways, and the fact that the makeup of a cigarette is not biodegradable. They also educated on how lungs are negatively affected by smoking, even if it is only secondhand.

Another group present was the Vista Community Clinic, who asked students to fill out a survey about their opinion on restaurants that allow smoking on patio seating. This is in an effort to pass a policy that bans smoking in San Marcos restaurants.

Once the clinic gets enough surveys, they will take it to the San Marcos City Council in an attempt to pass the policy, to protect everyone from secondhand smoke, with a focus towards people with asthma.

Free pizza and swag was available at the event, along with a raffle to win an Amazon Echo.

For more information, visit the Clear the Air Instagram @clearcampus or visit their website at https://www. csusm.edu/risk/archive/ smokingpolicy.html.