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Beware of the policy before lighting up on a state college campus

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NEW HAVEN -- Connecticut's state colleges and universities are slowly starting to join a national trend.

Effective next week, five Connecticut campuses will be smoke and vape free, now that Quinnebaug Community College, in Danielson, is on board.

The first Connecticut campus to extinguish lighting up was Gateway Community College in New Haven, which went smoke free in 2012. Second hand smoke, which has killed more that 2.5 million people in the U.S., since 1964, is , of course, the school's primary concern.

"Even with vaping, there is residual pollution in the air that we need to address," said Evelyn Gard, a spokesperson for Gateway Community College. "And we want to keep this a clean, safe campus."

"You're not allowed to smoke anywhere on our campus, inside of our garages, inside your cars in the garage ," said Angel Reyes, President of the Gateway Student Government. "I get a lot of negative feedback when it comes to some of our smokers."

No smoking of cigarettes, cigars, or vaping is permitted within 25 feet of any of the schools entrances or exits, either.

"We are empathetic to people who have addictions, but we're hoping that they will address those and be healthier.," said Gard.

Quinnebaug Valley, which will start enforcing its new policy on January 19, will hand out warnings for a first offense. Fines of $50 will be issued after that. However, Gateway, being an urban campus, must allow the City of New Haven police the smoking policy," according to Gard.

"If the city were to come through our parking lot or parking structure and say 'look you know you're not supposed to smoke in here and we're going to give you a ticket.' That's up to them. And we support it, but that has not happened yet."

Of the 17 state operated colleges and universities, only Southern Connecticut State University and Norwalk, Gateway, Capital Community College inHartford and Quinnebaug Valley community colleges are 100 percent smoke free campuses.

UConn is not smoke free, however, since the beginning of the fall semester, smoking of all kinds, including e cigarettes, was banned within 25 feet of all university owned or leased buildings, facilities and vehicles.