College of Lake County enacts smoke-free rule

The College of Lake County (CLC) will enforce a new smoke-free policy starting on Jan. 1, 2015. The policy change came after Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act in August 2014.

Under this act, smoking on any state-supported institution of higher learning—including community colleges—is prohibited. Although the policy is required by the state to be put into effect on July 1, 2015, CLC’s board of trustees approved an earlier start date in January.

Enforcing the policy at the beginning of the upcoming semester serves a purpose, according to Janet Mason, Department Chair for CLC’s Human Services and Social Work Programs.

“We want to make sure everyone has enough time to get acclimated to the changes,” Mason said. “Until then, we’re trying to raise awareness and education regarding the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke.”

The hope is that the new policy will discourage students and faculty from smoking as well as provide motivation for current smokers to quit, Mason said. In doing so, Mason believes that CLC as a whole will benefit in many ways.

“We want to provide a clean and healthy environment for everyone,” Mason said. “By eliminating smoking from our campus, we will be protecting people from involuntary second-hand smoke and decreasing the amount of grounds maintenance that’s needed.”

A smoke-free campus will also help better the environment, Mason said. The air will contain less pollution and the amount of poisonous tobacco waste that seeps into the earth and water will decrease.

“Smoking is an addiction,” Mason said. “The informational programs and other services we will be offering or connecting people to should help support students and employees at CLC.”

CLC Student Nic McAdams will be following the school’s new policy in Jan. 2015 like the rest of his peers. Since its announcement, McAdams already sees less smoking around campus.

“I’m personally not a smoker—I hate the smell and the second-hand smoke,” McAdams said. “But for those who do smoke, I think a real difference will be made. This was a good move on the school’s part.”