Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Puff or Pass?

buttOne month down for UCSC’s new smoke- and tobacco-free policy

UC Santa Cruz senior and literature major Thomas VanGilder enjoys a cigarette now and again.

But starting Jan. 1, the school became smoke- and tobacco-free—a change VanGilder believes is out of step with its character.

“I think there’s a hypocrisy in the image that the school is trying to create for itself, like there being the Grateful Dead museum that honors the legacy of Jerry Garcia—who drank and smoked cigarettes until the day day he died—and the ’60s era, and a student movement that began here at UCSC,” VanGilder says. “That was an era that defined pleasure; you had the sexual revolution and the re-imagining of what drugs really are.”

The decision to ban smoking on all UC campuses was issued by UC President Mark Yudof in 2012 and in effect by January 2014 across all 10 campuses, says Saladin Sale, co-chair of the campus Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Policy Implementation Committee.

“The UC, which is widely regarded as a leader in many aspects of education and research, has been a little behind the curve in terms of the smoke- and tobacco-free movement, which has been really big,” he says. “There are over 1,100 universities that are tobacco free already, so we’re kind of catching up with the pack as opposed to breaking ground.”

Sale says that, so far, compliance with the new policy has not been an issue. He says that a few people have had to be warned about the new rule but that citations are not a part of the policy at this time.

“We’re not starting out with enforcement,” he says. “We’re leading with education. Fines and citations down the line will be possible but that’s not the agenda. What we don’t want to do is have smoking police running around looking for violators.

“It’s touchy, because feelings can run high, especially when you’re dealing with addiction,” Sale adds, “but people are sensitive to being respected and not being demonized.”

He adds that UCSC aims to advertise the resources they have available for students who are inclined to quit the habit.

VanGilder says that he has continued to see students smoking cigarettes in plain sight. And some worry that the ban could push smokers into the surrounding woods and meadows. Early last month, an anonymous flier appeared on campus depicting five cute, hand-drawn little animals—a rabbit, a squirrel, a deer, a raccoon and a bird—with tears in their eyes, looking baffled, sitting amongst flowers and a bunch of strewn cigarette butts.

“No Butts,” reads the top of the flier. At the bottom it goes on: “As many of you know, starting Jan. 1, UCSC implemented a campus-wide smoke- and tobacco-free policy. With these new rules in place, there are going to be more butts in between the trees than ever. If you find yourself smoking in the trees or grasslands, please be sure to dispose of your butts in a place where they will not be a threat to our beautiful campus. Littering the forest floors with cigarette butts can cause forest fires and harm our wildlife.”

VanGilder says he himself has walked into the woods to smoke a cigarette but that he is careful. He stubs out the cigarette’s embers, breaks off the butt, puts it in his pocket so he can throw it in the trash later, and then continues on with his day.

“Sure, smoking is bad,” he says. “I get that they’re trying to make students healthier, but it’s still taking away a choice that people can do what they please with their bodies. So that kind of bothers me.”

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by the forest, March 17, 2014
Well, we are 3 months into it, and instead of people putting their butts into ashtrays that were here before the smoking police came. Now the butts are in the forest, thanks Yudof (why do we pay that clown so much?). People who whine about second hand smoke have obviously never been to China. There is a true example of not being able to get away from air pollution. Quit your griping.
Edited much?
written by Thomas Leavitt, February 05, 2014
"smoking cigarettes in plain site" should be "smoking cigarettes in plain sight". Site = location, sight = visual perception
written by G Domingos, February 04, 2014
People who smoke in the presence of non-smokers are taking away a choice of the non-smokers,
and that REALLY bothers me. And so does the smoke.

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location