Increased awareness influenced by nation-wide anti-smoking campaigns has led to CSUN’s efforts to ban smoking from public, outdoor common areas such as the Sierra Center’s eating area.
The University Corporation, along with Public Safety, has launched efforts that include a poster campaign to help indicate the areas in which smoking is banned and to promote an overall smoke-free zone.
“Some of our objectives are to put up signs, provide awareness, support campus policy and help the university enforce the regulations,” said Dave Nirenberg, director of commercial services at the University Corporation.
Among the responsibilities of the University Corporation is overseeing the operations of the Matador Bookstore, Food Services and the University Club on campus.
Banners displaying large no-smoking signs are up throughout the perimeter of the Sierra Center structure as well as the outdoor dining area of the Matador Complex.
“These banners are to get students, especially the new incoming ones, to get used to the no-smoking rules,” said Rick Evans, the administrative services manager at the University Corporation. These efforts are also in response to many complaints that were being received about people smoking in the non-designated areas, Evans said.
“We are becoming increasingly more active and this is all part and parcel of the overall ongoing theme and the increased information on secondhand smoke,” Evans said.
A recent report published by the U.S. Surgeon General focuses mainly on the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. It states that exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with an elevated risk of developing health problems, such as heart disease and lung cancer.
Since the start of the awareness campaigns, there have hardly been any complaints and people are better about following the rules, Evans said. Along with the new banners, there are more than 50 “no smoking” signs posted up around the outdoor dining areas. These terracotta -colored signs can also be found posted on landings on the stairwells.
“The corporation employees are also encouraged to help enforce campus policy,” Evans said.
“If we are walking and happen to see someone smoking in a non-designated area we will simply make a request to them to put it out,” said Nirenberg.
“Students caught are usually conducive and put it out so there never has been any need to write up a citation or anything like that,” Evans said. He also said the banners will be coming down anytime within the next few weeks but they will be put up again at the beginning of spring to help promote awareness at the start of the new semester.
Maria Rodriguez, a 23-year-old senior sociology major, sees smokers sitting at the tables around the Sierra Center even though the signs are clear for everyone to see.
“There is always at least one person smoking when I’m here in the Sierra Center or walking through the center,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said that although there are banners hanging around the tables it hasn’t stopped people from smoking around her.
“I don’t like cigarette smoke (which) is why I notice (smoke) so quickly,” Rodriguez said. “I can smell it right away.”
Michael Shoustal, junior business information systems major, said he eats and studies frequently near the Sierra Center and has not noticed a decrease in smoking since the banners have gone up.
Shoustal also said he has not noticed any officials asking students to put out their cigarettes and questions whether it would stop further smoking near the Sierra Center.
“I don’t even know if an official walking around would stop them from smoking,” Shoustal said. “Maybe a fine or designating an area for smoking would be a deterrent.”