Tobacco-Free Policy Enforcement
The first year the Tobacco-Free Policy was in place, voluntary compliance was emphasized. In the event that an individual or group was found using tobacco products, they were given a verbal reminder with a review of the Tobacco-Free Policy and their compliance was requested.
In October 2004 a penalty phase was instituted for those using tobacco on OTC campuses. The penalty consisted of a $15 fine or two hours of labor (picking up refuse on campus). The penalty was invoked only after an administrator or member of the Safety and Security Department had previously talked with the person about the policy and warned them that future violations could result in the penalty. Since the initiation of the penalty phase 51 citations have been issued with all but one person electing to pay the fine.
We educate our students and employees about the policy then seek their compliance. From the beginning we have sought to treat tobacco users with respect and dignity. In fact our policy is not focused on getting adults to quit their use of tobacco though we offer assistance to those who wish to do so. Rather we emphasize the importance of respecting others. Indeed if all who used tobacco respected the effect of their use on others there would be no need for such a policy. Unfortunately enough tobacco users do not respect the impact of their use on those around them to raise the question of what a higher education institution should do to assure clean air for all.
It is interesting that some students and employees believe it is acceptable for them to be non compliant with a duly promulgated policy of the college. The approach we take with non compliance helps them understand the fallacy of such a notion, not only here but in the world of work generally speaking. Ultimately the tobacco-free policy like all college policies becomes self-enforced. Certainly that has been the case at OTC.
Director of The Center of Excellence for Tobacco-Free Campus Policy
Dean of Student Development