Santa Barbara City College will become a completely smoke- and tobacco-free campus beginnng in August.

The college’s Board of Trustees voted late last month to eliminate all designated smoking areas, effective Aug. 5.

Banners with the message “Thank you for helping SBCC be a smoke-free campus” will be put up, and volunteers will work as informal ambassadors to remind people about the new policy.

The debate has been going on since Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, proposed banning tobacco to the Academic Senate back in April.

The recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Trustees in June after the Academic Senate, Student Senate and College Planning Council all voted to support the proposal.

“As an academic institution, we have a responsibility to foster practices that address the education of the ‘whole’ student,” President Lori Gaskin said in a press release from the day of the voting. “Maintaining one’s health, fitness and well-being are an important part of being a student, and becoming a completely nonsmoking campus communicates this message with great clarity and commitment.”

Designated smoking areas have existed for nine years, but after multiple complaints about secondhand smoking and cigarette butts, Sullivan proposed the new rule.

One concern voiced by faculty and students regarding the new rules is that smokers are going to smoke, regardless of any ban.

“I understand that it’s a way of living, a way of being,” Gaskin told Noozhawk. “But what I focus on is health programs for our students and our employees.”

The Human Resources and Student Health Services departments offer free smoking-cessation programs to students, employees and faculty.

With the smoking ban, the campus will try to publicize these services more clearly than before.

“Change is difficult (and), we’re going to have to work together,” SBCC public information officer Joan Galvan said. “We just have to monitor behavior, and possibly present it in a positive way.”

Both Gaskin and Galvan said there will be a period of transition and adjustment to the new policy.

With the board’s recent action, SBCC becomes one of 1,159 schools in the United States to adopt a smoke-free policy.

It still isn’t clear what the punishment will be for smoking inside campus boundaries.

Noozhawk intern Linda Sturesson can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.