Photo by Sonny Maboudi- Bill Lewis uses his oxygen tank as a foot stool in his home in San Pedro, California while watching football on the television on Sunday, December 4th, 2016. After smoking for 50 years, Bill has grown accustomed to having his oxygen tank nearby, although he may not always use it for the recommended purpose. 

Story by Nick Tate

With an oxygen tank by his side, Bill Lewis pushes through each day wishing he had never touched a cigarette. The frail San Pedro resident’s medical device is a constant reminder of the consequences of a habit he now wishes he had never formed.

“I’m now prejudiced against them” he says, referring to those who smoke.” I won’t sit anywhere near them.”

The 87-year-old Lewis has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which disrupts normal breathing and makes his lungs considerably weak.

When asked about the vaping alternative, Lewis’s wife Sandy Lewis bluntly stated, “I think vaping is an alternative to smoking. However, there’s no way in telling if vaping will do the same damage that cigarettes have done.”

All of Lewis’ family smoked, including his father.

It has been over 50 years for him, specifically.

“We can’t tell if the smoking caused his COPD but it could’ve,” Sandy said.

 

“Cigarettes were cheap back then and it was something everybody did.”

When pressed about what advice he’d offer this generation, he firmly stated not to smoke.

“The only thing you should be swallowing is fresh air,” he said “Don’t put any substance in the body.”

Photo by Sonny Maboudi- Alex Rivera, a Long Beach City College student, is smoking a cigarette at the designated smoking area at the Liberal Arts Campus on Sunday, December 4th, 2016. Alex says “finding a new place to smoke off-campus will be hard for him”. 
Photo by Sonny Maboudi-         A Long Beach City College professor is smoking a cigarette at the Liberal Arts Campus’ designated smoking area on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. The professor claims walking to the sidewalk to have a cigarette will be his plan if designated smoking areas are not permitted on California campuses. 

Smoking has been popular for many different reasons. However, recently even with the advent of vaping, a new and trendy alternative to straight nicotine, public disdain has emerged and the idea of smoking anything is met with negativity for most people.

On September 8, 2016, a bill  proposedby Democratic Politician Kevin McCarty that would ban the use of both cigarettes and vaping products on California Community College grounds as well as Cal State Universities was sent to Governor Jerry Brown after passing both the Assembly and State Senate vote.

According to BeTabaccoFree.gov, more than 3,200 people under 18 will smoke their first cigarette this year in the U.S., while approximately 2,100 youth and young adults will become daily smoker. These facts, in hindsight, are what led our State Capitol to engineer a change that would make campuses across the state safer for all who attend.

It’s time the public looks at the impact that the industry and smoking are having on our generation. Arsenic, lead and tar are listed along with over 7,000 dangerous chemicals that are stored in cigarettes, according to the American Lung Association. “Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use or the inhaling of secondhand smoke.”

“There are support groups here on campus and within the community. There’s different types of quitting because there’s more ways to begin smoking again” said Betsy Samayoa, a Registered Nurse at Long Beach City College.

Her position on believing that vaping isn’t a smoking alternative is firm.

“There’s still {dangerous} chemicals within vaping. The flavors are introducing it to younger generations, making it seem like an enticing and cooler thing to do. You’re vaping more frequently than you would be regularly smoking with cigarettes, yet still smoking the same chemicals.”

Photo by Sonny Maboudi- A lighter on a pack of cigarettes found at the designated smoking area of Long Beach City College’s Liberal Arts Campus on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. Smoking is very common among college students, however students will have to find a new place to smoke off-campus with the potential ban on cigarette and vaporizer smoking on California college campuses. 

According to tobacco21.org, in July 2015, the CDC released a study that found 75% of adults favored raising the smoking age to 21, which included 70% of current smokers and 65% aged 18-24.  Jerry Brown then signed the bill saying California would be raising the smoking age to 21, effective June 9, 2016.

Douglas Otto ;Long Beach City College area 4 Trustee; is in charge of making legal decisions for the school as well as sticking true to the goals within the College Board organization. With the sending of the smoking bill to Governor Brown, LBCC’s ASB, according to Otto is looking into making it a smoke-free campus.

“There are smoking areas now, but they {the students} would like it to be completely smoke-free.”, said Otto.

“My understanding from {researching} studies of youth who vape, they’re twice as likely to start smoking cigarettes. The data is off the charts.”

 

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