MiraCosta College’s student government is conducting a survey to determine whether people attending school there would support a Style smoking ban on all college property. Adam Frye, president of MiraCosta’s associated student government, said Wednesday that the survey asks all MiraCosta students to weigh in on whether the community college’s three campuses
– two in Oceanside and a third in Encinitas – should become smoke-free.
MiraCosta already bans people from smoking in school buildings and within 20 feet of building entrances. Smoking is allowed in a number of loosely defined areas on campus. Frye said the student body has debated banning smoking for years.
“People have tried to do something over the years; there has never been a definitive opinion from the students. That’s why we decided to do the survey,” he said.
The student government sent the survey —- a postcard questionnaire —- to every enrolled MiraCosta student. It asks whether they would support a smoking ban, including in parking lots and walkways.
Frye said if two-thirds of the responders favor a ban, the student government will request one from MiraCosta’s board of trustees. The board would ultimately make the decision.
Reining in smoking in public places has been a growing trend in North County and throughout the region.
In May 2008, Carlsbad became the final coastal city in San Diego County to ban smoking on the beach, and in 2009, Vista became the final North County city to ban smoking at public parks.
The North County Transit District prohibits smoking at all its train and bus platforms, and the region’s hospitals also have banned smoking anywhere on their property —- including parking lots.
Local colleges have been the last holdouts. North County’s three main institutions of higher learning —- MiraCosta College, Palomar College and Cal State San Marcos —- all allow smoking in designated locations. Other community colleges in the region, including Mesa College and San Diego City College, have gone smoke-free, according to their websites.
At MiraCosta on Tuesday, students who were asked about a possible smoking ban had varied reactions.
Megan Maculsay, a nonsmoker, said she didn’t see any reason to stub out the remaining spots on campus where students are allowed to take a drag.
“I hardly notice it,” she said. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Second-year student Tyler Johnson, who said he recently quit smoking, said an all-out ban was unnecessary. An English major in his second year at MiraCosta, Johnson said there is a designated smoking area near one campus building where he often takes classes.
“I think people have the right to smoke if they want to smoke,” he said, adding that the college could shrink its number of designated smoking areas, rather than eliminate them entirely, if it wanted to find a compromise.
Sitting in one of MiraCosta’s designated smoking areas near the college’s central square, student Trina Mabunay of Fallbrook smoked a cigarette as she pondered banning smoking on campus.
“I guess I understand why they want to,” she said. “If they banned it, it would be fine with me. I’m not that big on smoking anyway.”
Sitting next to Mabunay was Zachary Pease of Oceanside. He was not so sure that the student government should get involved.
“They’re making it look bad when it’s a lifestyle choice,” Pease said, cigarette in hand.