Capitol Alert

California college smoking ban advances through Assembly

In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, David Wang, 19, smokes outside during a break from classes at Seattle Central College in Seattle.
In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, David Wang, 19, smokes outside during a break from classes at Seattle Central College in Seattle. AP

California State University and community college campuses could soon be cigarette and e-cigarette free, with the Assembly passing a bill to bar students from using either product on campus.

Assembly Bill 1594 squeaked out of the 80-member Assembly on a 41-23 vote on Monday, with all but two of the votes against coming from Republicans and several Democrats not casting votes. It now goes to the Senate.

While the University of California prohibits smoking and vaping on every campus, only six of the 23 CSU campuses have moved to institute outright bans. The chancellor’s office has yet to take up a proposed system-wide tobacco and vaping ban. The CSU board of trustees has not taken a position on AB 1594.

Similarly, the state’s 113-school community college system allows individual schools to ban smoking and vaping but has no system-wide policy. The chancellor’s office does not have an official position on the bill.

This measure will promote a safe, healthy environment for students to learn.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento

“We currently have a hodgepodge system,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, the bill’s author. “In essence,” he added, “this measure will promote a safe, healthy environment for students to learn.”

But Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, said the state should be deferring to schools rather than dictating smoking rules.

“We are neither all-wise nor all-knowing,” Wagner said. “We do in fact have local governments that are charged with making these decisions. That is not a hodgepodge. That is democracy in action.”

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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