In less than a month, Ogeechee Technical College will join the growing ranks of educational institutions that are tobacco free.
Beginning with the start of the Spring Quarter on April 4, “Smoking or use of other tobacco products is prohibited on all Ogeechee Technical College grounds,” according to the new policy.
“We want our employees to be as healthy as possible,” said OTC president Dr. Dawn Cartee. “We have weight-loss programs, exercise activities, and programs directed at reducing stress and improving one’s life. We will institute tobacco cessation activities as well, in an attempt to help our employees and students who would like to stop using tobacco products.”
Ogeechee Tech is not the first in the Technical College System of Georgia to become tobacco-free, as several other colleges have already initiated such a policy. Numerous institutions in other educational systems have also established such policies.
The smoking ban includes all college buildings, sidewalks, parking lots, landscaped areas and recreational areas.
The policy recently was adopted by the OTC’s administration and approved by the Board of Directors.
“We acknowledge and support the findings of the Surgeon General that tobacco use in any form, active and passive, are significant health hazards,” said Ryan Foley, vice president for Student Affairs at Ogeechee Tech, who chaired the Tobacco-use committee. “Along with the health hazards, we have had a growing problem with trash left behind by smokers, and complaints about individuals smoking near doorways and walkways.”
The committee that developed the new policy was made up of employees and students, tobacco users and non-tobacco users.
“We know that this is part of a growing trend among educational institutions, as well as healthcare campuses, government buildings, and other locations,” stated Foley. “The policy applies to everyone using any of our grounds or buildings — students, employees and visitors.”