Smoking continues on campus despite ban

A law that prohibits smoking on campus was approved last year during the beginning of the 2015 spring semester.

Although the ban is in effect, there is no consequence for being caught smoking on campus, only a warning will be given, which leads many students to continue smoking.

Jorge Ramirez, 20, English major, said that he arrives to campus a few minutes before his morning class to smoke in the parking lot.

“I know that smoking is banned on campus,” Ramirez said. “That is exactly why I do it in my car. I don’t have to worry about anyone telling me to not do it. I have a little bit more privacy and I feel more relaxed.”

Other students who were smoking in the parking lot refused to talk.

According to the policy, smoking is not allowed on El Camino property, which includes the parking lots as well. The law prohibits the use of “cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and any tobacco product,” according to Board Policy 3570.

Non-smokers like Rico Jones, 23, undecided major, are happy that there is a law that bans people to smoke on a campus.

“It just makes it better for everyone who doesn’t smoke,” Jones said. “I can’t imagine sitting down on a bench listening to music and all of a sudden someone coming up and lighting up a cigarette.”

Jones added that he hasn’t personally seen anyone smoke on the campus this semester yet, but it’s a different scene for Maria Vicente, a 10-year custodian working for El Camino.

Vicente said that every fall she sees the rise of smokers on campus and watches it decrease as the school year moves forward.

“I think the signs around campus make a huge difference,” Vicente said. “Every year, new students come into campus and many don’t know about the policies. With time the smokers tend to decrease, but the few that do it are respectful about it and clean up after themselves.”

There a few popular smoking spots by the Music; Math, Business and Allied Health; and Humanities buildings, Vicente said.