TCTC Tobacco Free FAQs

TCTC Tobacco-Free Initiative

What is TCTC's tobacco-free policy and when does it take effect?

Effective Aug. 1, 2014, tobacco use will be prohibited on all Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) campuses and learning centers, including all buildings, parking lots, automobiles, and outdoor areas. "Tobacco" refers to any and all tobacco products, whether inhaled or ingested, as well as electronic cigarettes.

How will you communicate this policy change to faculty, staff and students?

We have announced this new policy using official TCTC communications tools. In addition, the new policy will be published in the College catalog and students will be oriented to the policy during the enrollment process.

Who does the policy affect?

All College employees, students and visitors will be asked to adhere to the tobacco-free policy while on TCTC property.

Isn't this tobacco-free policy a violation of my civil and constitutional rights?

There is no "right to smoke" under state or federal law. TCTC has the authority to govern the use of college property and regulate its use. Smoking in public places produces secondhand smoke, which has been scientifically proven to harm others, even if they do not smoke. Banning tobacco at TCTC protects everyone from exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco products while they are on campus.

How was the policy developed?

During the 2012-13 academic year, the TCTC Tobacco-free committee worked with the Faculty Senate, Staff Advisory Board, and Student Government Association for input on the pros, cons, and parameters of a tobacco-free policy. In addition, the Committee researched practices at other area colleges and universities and researched best practice guidelines to ensure a smooth transition to a tobacco-free environment.

Can this action be reversed?

TCTC is committed to supporting a culture of health for students, faculty, staff and visitors. A tobacco-free environment contributes substantially to a healthier environment which is in line with our commitment to health.

How will campus visitors know that TCTC is a tobacco-free institution?

Signage about our tobacco-free campus will be placed throughout the grounds and buildings during the spring of 2014. You may also alert campus visitors about this policy by sending them a link to the TCTC Tobacco-free website before their arrival at www.tctc.edu/FreshStart.

Does this policy apply to all TCTC campuses and properties?

Yes, all properties owned or leased by TCTC are covered under this policy.

How is this policy different from the current policies about smoking and tobacco use?

Previously, those who wished to use tobacco products at TCTC could do so outdoors in restricted areas. This new policy further encourages health and wellness at TCTC by completely prohibiting the use of all tobacco products on TCTC property.

Why not just allow more smoking areas?

Designated places to use tobacco is not consistent with TCTC's commitment to improve the working and learning environment, as well as to improve the health of our community.

Is smokeless tobacco also banned?

Yes. Because alternative tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco (known as "chew," "dip," "snuff," etc.), have been found to be detrimental to health, these products are also banned because they do not fit with TCTC's environment of health and wellness. Anyone who wants to use these products will have to partake outside of TCTC's tobacco-free zones.

Will the college require people to quit using tobacco products?

TCTC acknowledges that the use of tobacco products is a personal choice. However, the use of tobacco does not fit with the culture of health and wellness TCTC encourages. Though some may choose to use tobacco products off campus, by removing tobacco use from college property TCTC can better protect those who choose not to smoke from the effects of secondhand smoke, as well as help those who are trying to quit using tobacco.

Why was smokeless tobacco banned?

All types of tobacco products are known to present a health hazard to users. As a result the college adopted a 100% tobacco-free policy.

What resources are available to help those who want to quit tobacco?

A smoker who wishes to quit can increase his/her chances of success by using available resources such as those discussed on our Tobacco-free website at www.tctc.edu/FreshStart.

Can I use tobacco in my own vehicle within the tobacco-free zones?

No, a vehicle parked in a TCTC lot is still within the boundaries of the tobacco-free zone, and must be moved off-campus if you want to use tobacco products within the vehicle.

Will there still be designated smoking areas at TCTC after Aug. 1, 2014?

No, as we transition to a tobacco-free campus, the current smoking policy, which limits smoking to designated areas, will remain in effect. On Aug. 1, 2014 when the new policy goes into effect, there will be no smoking areas on college property.

I work with students on a daily basis. How can I support the tobacco-free policy and help students live healthier lives?

As a faculty/staff member working directly with students, you have a wonderful opportunity to help students understand the policy and become tobacco-free. Encourage them to seek the smoking cessation resources available through the State and the Student Assistance Program. If you know several students that want to quit together, offer a quit group on site to increase the social support and subsequent success of those who want to quit using tobacco. If you're a smoker and want to quit, be a role model for your students!

Will the policy remain in effect on weekends?

The tobacco-free policy is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What should I do if I see someone smoking or using other tobacco products?

It is possible that a person smoking on the TCTC campus is unaware of the tobacco-free policy. If you see someone smoking on a TCTC campus after Aug. 1, 2014, kindly inform him/her that TCTC has gone tobacco-free, and ask them to extinguish their tobacco product if you are comfortable doing so.

How will the policy be enforced and by whom?

TCTC community members are asked to help create a tobacco-free environment using community enforcement. Community enforcement relies on individuals to educate one another about the tobacco-free policy at the college and ask that individuals extinguish tobacco material. If a community member is not comfortable doing so, or if an individual repeatedly violates the policy, the following actions may be taken:

  •  If a student violates the tobacco-free policy, the location and time of the violation can be reported to the office of the Dean of Students.
  •  If a staff member violates the policy, contact their department supervisor.
  • Campus Safety should be called if the person is a repeat offender.

What are the consequences for people who violate the tobacco-free policy?

Students and employees are required to abide by all college policies in their day-to-day activities at TCTC. If a student or an employee violates this policy, they may face disciplinary action.

How will this change make a positive difference at TCTC?

TCTC is committed to protecting the health and safety of employees, students and visitors on the TCTC campuses. Creating a tobacco-free environment allows for a healthy, comfortable and productive living, learning and working environment.

I've tried to quit smoking before, but have not been successful. are there any medications that can help me?

Quitting tobacco can be a long, difficult process. The SC Quitline is available to help.  Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) where a trained Quit Coach® is available to help.  They will:

  • Assist you with development of a quit plan
  • Discuss your motivation to quit
  • Help identify triggers to using, and
  • Help you develop coping mechanisms, such as alternatives or distractions to help you be successful in your quit attempt.

Can employees use the money put aside in flexible spending accounts to pay for costs related to smoking cessation aids and counseling that are not covered by insurance?

Money can be set aside in your flexible spending account to cover smoking cessation aids and counseling. However, as a benefits-eligible employee, all smoking cessation medications (over the counter and prescription) are covered by your insurance with a doctor's prescription. State employees are also eligible for free coaching and counseling services. Review the Tobacco Cessation Coaching Programs offerred to Faculty and Staff on the Tobacco Free Resources Link.