By Melissa Priore
BLACKWOOD – Signs with the words “TOBACCO FREE” are posted through out CCC’s campus and have been seen by staff member and student alike for approximately four years.
Signs like this one are all over campus.
The use of tobacco of any kind is strictly prohibited on school grounds, including parking lots. Students must wait until they drive off campus to even light a cigarette inside of their car.
“Smoking on campus, like it or not like it, the board policy makes it the law. We enforce board policy,” said Steve Hetherington, the Director of Public Safety.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 5 adults use tobacco. That would mean around 3,000 of CCC students are smokers. The majority of those 3,000 students have been happy to abide by this law.
“Most of the students have complied voluntarily,” Hetherington said, “I think it might be a little easier for this generation because they’re use to no smoking areas.”
Sierra Heagen (18, Barrington, Business major) is a smoker but does not disagree with the policy and enjoys what it has done for the campus.
“I think it’s better,” Heagan said, “You don’t see cigarette butts on the ground. It doesn’t seem as dirty.”
With every law comes those who break it. Students can be seen smoking on a daily basis, be it behind a tree or on the steps in front of the Madison building.
Amanda Mendetta (19, Pine Hill, Criminal Justice major) explained one of the most common places smokers go while in between classes.
“Once you get past the cars in the front parking lot, by the trees, that’s where we smoke,” says Mendetta, referring to the long strip of land that separates the parking lot in front of the Madison building and Peter Cheeseman road.
Mendetta added that this specific area is safe zone for smokers and is in belief that it isn’t against school policy.
“Security goes pass us all the time and they never yell at us because they tell us to go over there,” Mendetta said.
When Hetherington was approached with the question of why students were being told they had a “smoking area” by certain public safety officers, he smirk and simply said, “We need to priorities with all things.”
For Public Safety, it’s all about picking and choosing battles.
“It’s not something our staff enjoys doing, confronting people in a negative interaction and issuing a ticket for smoking,” said Hetherington.
A first offense fine for smoking on campus is $25, followed $50 for a second offense. Further offenses go to the Dean of Students.