Central Piedmont Community College implemented a new tobacco-free policy, banning the use of tobacco by everyone, at all times, on all six of its campuses including Huntersville.
Unlike the new N.C. law, all forms of tobacco are banned, said Mark Helms, student life and service-learning dean on Central Campus. He added that other colleges had found more resistance to policies that only banned smoking.
"The simpler a policy is to articulate, the more effective it will be, the more successful it will be," Helms said.
CPCC joins the other 31 colleges and universities in North Carolina that have tobacco-free policies, he said.
Never miss a local story.
Helms worked on the policy with other members at the college for more than a year before implementing it Jan. 2.
Calling it one of the most "challenging and exciting things I've done in my career," Helms said he anticipated more of a challenge than what's been experienced.
Cooperation hasn't been much of an issue with the policy, which has had only one recorded violator since it began.
To be fair and consistent, said Helms, there is a disciplinary guide for those that violate the policy. First and second violations result in warnings; after a third violation the Student Code of Conduct will be enforced and a student could receive probation. A fourth violation could result in suspension.
Beverly Dickson, dean of North campus in Huntersville, agreed that cooperation has been surprisingly easy.
"I think we're probably seeing 99 percent compliance," she said.
Having cleaner air for students, faculty and visitors isn't the only upside to the policy, Dickson said.
"The clean air and the lack of litter are probably two of the nicest aspects of this policy," she said.
The policy, which took more than a year from its creation to be implemented, was actually suggested by the students, according to the college's Web site.
When those failed to work, a task force was created and an electronic survey was sent to enrolled students.