NCC is going smoke-free.
As of Wednesday all tobacco use will be prohibited on all Norwalk Community College grounds, and in campus-owned, leased or rented vehicles.
"It's making a statement to all of our employees and students that we're a community that celebrates health," said Norwalk Community College President David Levinson.
Currently NCC and Quinnipiac University's North Haven campus are the only two college campuses in Connecticut that have implemented a 100% tobacco and smoke free campus policy. The policy has enabled the college to rid its campus of former 'smoker shacks' and prohibits any type of tobacco product, including electronic cigarettes and other items which contain tobacco flavoring or mimic tobacco products.
"Smoker shacks created a smoke problem for people walking by those entities in the parking lots," said Norwalk Community College President David Levinson. "And then the ventilation systems in the buildings would actually pull smoke in from outside and that was getting into the buildings even though there was no smoking near the buildings."
Although some students deem the policy too strict many say it's a step in the right direction.
"This is a free country," said freshman Daniel Hamilton. "I know that they have the right to do it, but still if I wanted to smoke a cigarette, I felt like I could do that."
"It's a hazard because there's secondhand smoke and there's other people smelling that smoke," said freshman Jessica Joseph.
"We're taking baby steps toward a state where it's not advisable to be indulging in habits that are not beneficial to you nor the people around you." said freshman Ziggy Sakalauskas.
"I quit smoking," said freshman Christian Rottner. "So it's definitely helpful and it makes the place a little better when there's not cigarette butts everywhere."
Twice a week the Norwalk Community Health center's mobile service will be on campus to provide students and staff with smoking cessation assistance.
"We want everyone to abide by this willfully," said Levinson. "And in order for something like this to work, you really need the voluntary compliance of people. We, today, have been going around campus. If somebody is smoking, our security guard tells them, you can't do that anymore."