Tobacco Free FAQ

Q: What exactly does the new tobacco policy do?
A:  The tobacco policy ensures that PCC is tobacco free. This includes inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying of any lighted tobacco material - including cigarettes, cigars or pipes - on PCC property excluding Good Neighbor Zones. The use of other tobacco products, such as smokeless or chewing tobacco, is also included in the tobacco free policy. The policy does not include FDA approved nicotine-replacement therapy products for the purpose of cessation.
Q:  Who is affected by the tobacco policy?
A:  The tobacco policy applies to all persons on or in PCC property. This includes, but is not limited to, persons on PCC sidewalks, parking lots, landscaped areas, recreational areas, in buildings or vehicles on PCC property, in vehicles owned, rented or leased by PCC and at events on PCC premises. 
Q:  Are there any designated smoking areas left for employees, visitors and students?
A:  Good Neighbor Zones may be established at PCC campuses and centers which, in cooperation with our campus neighbors, provide designated smoking areas.
Q:  Isn’t it my right to use tobacco?
A:  Tobacco is still a legal product for adults. Today, about 1 out of 5 adult Oregonians use tobacco. PCC will not try to force anyone to quit tobacco use entirely. However, PCC will continue to set policies regarding activity on our premises and to create an environment that we believe is in the best interest of the educational environment for our employees, students and visitors.
 
Q:   When was the policy implemented?
A:  The policy was passed by the Portland Community College Board of Directors in March of 2008. PCC became tobacco free on September 9, 2009.
Q:  How is the policy enforced?
A:  There is an emphasis on “peer enforcement.” Ultimately it is everyone’s responsibility to follow PCC policy while on PCC grounds. We ask that everyone remind each other that we are a tobacco free college. In addition to verbal reminders, failure to comply with the tobacco free policy could result in a $50 citation ($75 in fire hazard areas).   
Q:  What will happen to students who violate the policy?
A: As a result of violation of the PCC Tobacco Free Policy, a citation and fine may be issued and posted to the student’s account in Student Account Services.  Unless fines are paid within 21 calendar days of receipt of the citation, appropriate steps will be taken, consistent with Board Policy B504 on Past Due Debts, such as withholding of services, use of collection agencies and refusal of registration. Officers will use discretion and take into consideration the totality of the circumstances when applying this policy. Continued failure by students to comply with the directions of College Officials to abide by these rules may be reported to the Dean of Student Development as a violation of Section 12.9 of the PCC Code of Student Conduct. Further sanctions may be imposed, including suspension, restitution or probation.
Q:  What will happen to employees who violate the policy?
A: Compliance with Portland Community College rules and regulations is considered a standard part of job performance for all employees. Repeated failure by faculty or staff of Portland Community College to abide by these rules and procedures may be addressed through informal discussions between the employee and her/his immediate supervisor (e.g., clarifying the PCC tobacco free policy, outlining available resources and helping the employee to develop a strategy for compliance with the tobacco free policy).
Q:  What should I do if I see an employee, student or visitor smoking on campus?
A: With the utmost courtesy and respect, remind the person that PCC is a tobacco free campus. For more detail, check out our video “How to Talk to a Smoker on Campus”. Business-sized referral cards, containing the policy and cessation resources, will be available to distribute to those who are smoking on campus. If the person continues to smoke or becomes confrontational, we encourage you to walk away and call public safety at 971-722-4902). A response including more signs, additional monitoring and cleanup will be coordinated accordingly. We recognize that not everyone will feel comfortable approaching smokers, but we encourage all employees to assist with compliance in some way.
Q: Do public safety officers issue citations or arrest people who refuse to stop smoking?
A: Public Safety will not arrest people who are not in compliance, but they do have the ability to issue a citation for refusal to comply with the policy. In the rare case where an employee refuses to follow the policy, the Department of Public Safety will forward the employee's name to a supervisor for follow up discussion. If a visitor or member of the public refuses to follow the policy, Public Safety may instruct that person to leave PCC property. Continued failure by students to comply with the directions of college officials to abide by these rules may be reported to the Dean of Student Development as a violation of Section 12.9 of the PCC Code of Student Conduct. Further sanctions may be imposed, including suspension, restitution or probation. Officers will use their discretion and take into consideration the totality of the circumstances when applying this policy.
Q: What happens if you receive, but do not pay a citation?
A: The fine will be posted to the offender’s student or employee account in the business office. Unless fines are paid within 21 calendar days of receipt of the citation, appropriate steps will be taken, consistent with Board Policy B504 on Past Due Debts. This could include withholding of services, use of collection agencies and refusal of registration.
Q: What resources are available to help employees?
A: Qualified PCC employees and dependents can receive cessation services through their benefits or the employee assistance program.  Benefits can be identified by contacting PCC Human Resources.  Additional information can be found at MyPCC under the “Employee” tab, or on the PCC tobacco free Web site under “Resources.”  Additionally we encourage those interested in quitting smoking to contact the Quit Line: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Q: What happens to people who don’t quit, or do not want to quit smoking?
A: PCC does not require anyone to abstain from using tobacco off campus. If you do not want to quit smoking, and need to curb your cravings while on PCC property, we suggest working with a health care provider to determine alternatives that will work for you. There are many over-the-counter options for managing cravings including gum, lozenges and tablets.