1. Why did OTC become tobacco-free in 2003?
- The presence of high school students on campus each day.
- Unsightly debris littering the ground
- Smoky areas at building entrances.
- An overall desire to create a safe and healthy environment for all student.
2. What does “Tobacco-Free” mean exactly?
Tobacco-free means that OTC strives for a completely, 100% tobacco-free campus. Smoking has been prohibited inside all college buildings since the college was established in 1990. Since August 1, 2003 tobacco use has not been permitted anywhere on campus. This includes all common areas, parking lots, building entrances, etc. In other words-if you are anywhere on the OTC campus, you may not use tobacco products.
See the Campus map to specifically define the tobacco-free area…anything that is inside OTC campus perimeter is tobacco-free.
3. What happens if you are caught smoking or chewing tobacco on campus?
For the first year of the tobacco-free campus policy, OTC Safety and Security Officers emphasized voluntary compliance and did not cite students for using tobacco products. OTC entered the second phase of enforcement on October 18, 2004. If you are discovered using tobacco products on campus you may receive a citation and will be required to meet with the Director of Safety and Security. In addition, you will need to either pay a fine of $15 or spend two hours cleaning up tobacco refuse around campus.
4. How many students use tobacco products here at OTC?
The number of students at OTC who use tobacco has decreased since the policy was implemented. In the Spring of 2003, 31% of students reported current tobacco use and by Fall 2003 the number had decreased to 26%. Surveys taken by the Fall 2004 graduating class indicated that only 22% of the graduating class are tobacco-users.
5. College students are too young to want to quit smoking, right?
No! The most recent student surveys here at OTC showed that over 83% of tobacco-users (smokers and those that use chewing tobacco) have tried to quit at least once in the last year, and 45% say they would like to quit soon.
6. Has the implementation of Tobacco-Free policy adversely impacted enrollment at OTC or other institutions?
There is no evidence of any negative impact on enrollment here or at any college we have worked with after the policy was put into effect. However, it is difficult to know if someone might have decided to NOT apply for admission because of the policy. Therefore, we have focused on comparing actual enrollment to projections AND on asking those who apply but do not convert to enrollees if the policy was a factor in their decision to not enroll. These measures do not reflect any impact of the policy one way or the other. In our surveys of prospective students, students, graduates and employees support for the policy has always been from 65% to 80%, those opposed from 25% to 15% with the others expressing no opinion. We have not conducted much research on the impact of our policy preferring to focus our attention on creating an atmosphere of respect for individuals whether they use tobacco or not and voluntary compliance with the policy to assure clean air to all.
7. Who should I talk to about questions or concerns that I have about the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy?
Your opinion and feedback are very important to us and we want to help you understand the policy and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact Karla Gregg, Dean of Student Development (417) 447-6966.