The California Assembly on Monday approved banning the use of tobacco products on all California State University and community college campuses.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty’s proposal for tobacco-free college campuses passed on a 41-23 vote, allowing it to move on to the state Senate.
AB1594 follows the lead of the University of California system, which banned tobacco use on its campuses in 2014.
The bill would prohibit the use of traditional and electronic cigarettes and vaping of tobacco products on 136 California campuses, affecting over 2.5 million students attending those schools.
“This measure will promote a safe and healthy environment for students to learn and make campuses a more education-friendly environment and tobacco-smoke-free,” said McCarty, D-Sacramento.
The proposal would allow for schools to fine violators up to $100 with the money going toward supporting education programs, including anti-smoking education, at the campus where the violation occurs.
Supporters of the proposal cite the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke.
“I’d be down for it, I hate cigarettes. It’s ruined my aunt’s life and my parents smoked too,” said COC student Sam Walker. “I don’t know the info on e-cigarettes as much, but I’m down for banning it all.”
Assemblyman Donald Wagner, R-Irvine, argued against McCarty’s proposal preferring to leave the decision-making to local community college boards to decide what’s best for them.
“What we have is a system that allows agencies, school boards, college boards to make the laws that are right and appropriate and wanted by their community rather than have us act as a super school board up here and decide what is best,” Wagner said.
According to health officials, the use of electronic cigarettes is increasing among young college students.
“It would be tough for me because I smoke when I have a break to relieve stress and to relax a little,” said student Shadee Georgie. “Maybe it will help me quit in time, but I don’t know.”
The proposal is one of six different tobacco-related measures sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, including raising the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
If passed, college campuses around California would begin implementing the ban on tobacco by 2018.