Ozarks college says students obeying smoking ban

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Ozarks Technical Community College students who smoke are cooperating with a new policy that bans the use of all tobacco products, officials said.

"It's far better than I could have ever imagined. We don't find anybody smoking on campus," said Ty Patterson, vice president for student affairs.

The campus' no smoking policy took affect Aug. 1. Now, the only smoking areas on campus are inside people's cars.

"We owe a lot to those who use tobacco and are complying," Patterson said.

Gary White, 34, of Fair Grove, isn't happy with the new policy, but still abides by the rules and sits inside his truck to smoke.

"I have rights, too," White said. "I have the right to choose. I know some made it bad by throwing butts on the ground, but I guess we have to be politically correct."

The smoking ban was put into effect for health and esthetic reasons, Patterson said. It became necessary when students who smoked wouldn't stay away from building entrances, wouldn't smoke in designated areas and tossed their spent cigarette butts everywhere.

White said more ashtrays might have helped the situation.

The only other community college known to go smoke-free is the Riverside, Calif., Community College system.

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