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Saying no to tobacco

BCC club aims to curb smoking on all campuses

By Paula Richardson - Tower Staff Writer
On May 15, 2013

The Berkeley City College Tobacco-Less Club is sending a strong message to students with its anti-smoking campaign. Led by President Joseph Friedman, Vice President Mathison Ott, Program Coordinator Pauline Bondonno and Program Assistant Laura Miller, all have been working diligently to alleviate smoking on every Peralta District campus.

Community Health Education Institute (CHEI) is the name of the nonprofit that runs the Tobacco-Less Club. CHEI is funded by Alameda County.

The Tobacco-Less Club is working on several projects; one is getting warning cards up at BCC and Laney College which states: "I hate to see you get fined, citations start as low as $45 or as high as $271...violators your smoke doesn't discriminate it effects everyone, smoke gets around and if your college isn't smoke free you're subject to fines."

These citations are supposed to work the same as parking citations.

There is not a set date on when the cards will circulate, but they are hoping for this semester, and they are waiting for approval.

It's a message that could hit people where it hurts the most, in their pockets. The club is focusing heavily on the Laney campus because there are policies on smoking that are already in place, but some people are choosing to disregard them, Miller said.

Additionally, the Club has multiple-choice survey questions that are mainly given to Laney community members and at meeting venues. The County requires them to do a pre-intervention survey and then after signs are put up, it is followed by a post-intervention survey. This is to help the committee focus on what students and staff are dealing with on their campuses.

The Club is encouraging students to check out its website, smokingbites.org and to "Like" them on Facebook; Smoking Bites so Fight Back.

"We are trying to work with Facebook through our website to get more students involved and aware of the club and trying to do an outreach effort right now," Bondonno said.

With the Club proposing a new grant they are looking to work with other community colleges that are facing the same problems as they. "There are all these other community colleges in California that are going through the same problem that we're going through but there might not be clubs out there to do it, so to be able to network with all those colleges to bring what we've done so successfully," Ott said.

Lastly, the Tobacco-Less Club has implemented a program along with the City of Berkeley's Tobacco Prevention Program, offering free brief intervention quit sessions at BCC.

These are 10-minute individual sessions with a trained health educator to assist in helping with quitting smoking; students can get more information by contacting BCC.

For further information, call 1-800-662-8887 or at www.smokingbites.org.


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