Long Beach, California - city college going smoke-free..

Brittany Murray / Press-Telegram
February 3, 2011 - LONG BEACH - Long Beach City College (LBCC) student Danny Reich was tired of choking on the secondhand smoke wafting around campus. The 62-year-old music major suffers from congenital heart disease and says cigarette smoke aggravates his medical condition. And it's just plain nasty, he added.

Long Beach City College officially became a smoke-free campus January 18, 2011 in a measure that was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees. It was the result of a two-year grass-roots effort led by Reich. In a few weeks banners will go up around Long Beach City College promoting the new campus wide ban on smoking. (Brittany Murray / Press-Telegram) and other members of a Smoke-Free Campus Committee.

Smoking is permitted only in designated areas on both the Liberal Arts and Pacific Coast campuses. The college is expected to post signs later this month, and those who don't heed the signs will get a warning.

LBCC is on the heels of a major trend as colleges across the country move to enforce stricter anti-smoking rules. An estimated one in five college students are regular smokers, according to the American Lung Association. Among adults who have ever smoked, an estimated 86 percent started at age 21 or younger. Anti-smoking advocates say the 18 to 24 age group has one of the highest smoking rates, and the tobacco companies are well aware of it. In 2005, the tobacco industry spent more than $1 million a day sponsoring events and giveaways targeting college students, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

But many groups are fighting back. In California more than 80 public colleges and universities have established smoke-free policies on campus, said Kim Homer Vagadori of the California Youth Advocacy Network, a state-funded program that works to implement tobacco-free policies in schools. Some schools, like Mesa College in San Diego, have even eliminated their designated smoking zones, Kim said.

Reference: LBCC goes smoke-free HEALTH: Successful grass-roots campaign gets college on board a nationwide trend by Kelly Puente, Staff Writer, Contra Costa Times, 2/1/2011.