Edmonds college campus’ smoking, vaping ban begins Sept. 11

LYNNWOOD — Smoking on the Edmonds Community College campus ends Monday.

The college’s board of trustees earlier this summer approved a change in policy that prohibits smoking or using tobacco products. They cited the desire for a healthier environment for students and employees.

The move to a tobacco-free campus had been under discussion for several years. The college held three public forums, formed an advisory committee and reviewed results from two tobacco use surveys, one recent and the other from 2011.

The more recent survey found that most students who do not use tobacco believe the college should be smoke-free. Nine out of 10 students who use tobacco, on the other hand, opposed the change.

The new rules prohibit using or distributing tobacco products on any property owned, leased or managed by Edmonds Community College. That includes sidewalks, class buildings, landscaped areas outside of the buildings and sports fields or recreation areas on campus.

Along with cigarettes or pipes, the policy bans use of hookahs, e-cigarettes and vape pens. Products such as gum, patches or lozenges meant to help people stop using tobacco are allowed, as long as they are FDA-approved.

Anyone seen smoking on campus may be given a reminder card about the new policy from security staff. The goal is not to focus on punishment, according to the college. However, if violations of the policy are frequent or increase over time, a stricter policy may be put in place for fall 2018.

The campus previously had several designated smoking areas, but students could smoke elsewhere on campus as long as the location did not violate state law. State regulations that went into effect in 2005 prohibit smoking at work sites, restaurants, public places and within 25 feet of doors, windows or ventilation intakes.

Everett Community College put rules in place in 2012 to ban smoking on that campus.

In recent years, there also have been policy changes related to vaping and e-cigarettes, adding them to tobacco and smoking bans in public places. The Snohomish Health District in 2015 adopted a policy that prohibits vaping in public locations such as parks and businesses.

Just last month, the Lake Stevens City Council voted to adopt new rules on vaping. City leaders decided to expand rules that prohibit smoking or tobacco use in city parks to include e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. New signs will be purchased to put in at local parks, according to city documents.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

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