AMARILLO, TX - Amarillo College students will have to put out their cigarettes and ditch their vape pens, at least while they're on campus. The school is joining the growing list of Texas colleges banning all smoking and tobacco products on campus.
The Board of Regents at school made the decision Tuesday night. Come Aug. 1st, no one will be allowed to use any tobacco products or electronic devices on Amarillo college property. That means students cannot smoke in or near buildings or in the parking lot.
"We can't fall behind, there are already so many schools that are already smoke free," said student Abraham Tenorio.
The push for this ban came from AC's Student Government Association. Tenorio is the president of SGA and says it's something that's been in the works for almost two years.
"We actually received complaints from some students because of medical issues," said Tenorio. "They had to walk through the smoke and it affected them in a negative way and that's something a student shouldn't have to go through just to get to class."
SGA surveyed over 900 students on campus and 80% were in favor of a smoking ban. School president Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart says this was not something he was looking for, but says he's proud of the board taking action for the students.
"It's really great to know that students on campus do have a voice and can make serious changes on campus," said AC student Lily Gamble. "I think it's just really awesome and exciting to see what could continue to come from the resolutions that SGA puts forward."
Not everyone at Amarillo College agrees with the entire smoking ban.
"My issue with the smoking ban is that it affects vaping which is proven to be a heck of a lot safer than cigarettes," said AC student Justin Beck. "Also, there is no designated smoking area being put in campus somewhere."
As of right now, there will be no designated areas and students will have to go off campus -- which is also a concern.
"Everybody's going to be next door at the park interrupting the kids playing now," said Beck."It might come into place later if the city makes the move on them for allowing for everybody moving over to the park."
Since there are about six months until the ban takes place, Amarillo College is offering free smoking cessation classes. The class is available to not only students at AC but members of the community. To sign-up or for more information please visit www.actx.edu/intervention.