The decision to transition to a smoke-free campus comes after many months of discussion and planning, with a Smoke/Tobacco-Free Task Force formed last year that was made up of representatives from all of the College's constituency groups. However, the effort was led by students, who initially conceived of the idea after learning that OCC had received an "F" rating on the California Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN) California College & University Smoke/Tobacco-Free Policy Report Card.
Students teamed up with Coast health instructor Anna Hanlon to apply for a grant through the Truth Initiative, which OCC received. Hanlon and student representatives also partnered with OCC's Office of Institutional Effectiveness to conduct a campus-wide survey, with results showing strong support for a transition to a smoke-free campus.
"The Associated Students of Orange Coast College (ASOCC) passed a resolution in Fall 2018 urging the College to adopt a 100 percent smoke and tobacco free campus," explains Hanlon. "This was presented to the Academic Senate who endorsed with the caveat that an implementation task force would be created to operationalize what the policy change would mean, and this task force included four students. They collaborated for more than a year and a half to gain agreement among the College's different constituency groups to move to smoke and tobacco free campus."
A board policy was drafted and approved by all shared governance groups at OCC at the end of the Spring 2019 semester, and was given final approval by the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees on June 17.
The next steps of implementing the smoke-free policy include educating new students and providing assistance to students and employees who are interested in quitting smoking. "We are updating onboarding information for our incoming freshmen, new student housing occupants, and new employees," says Hanlon. "We are also getting the word out to our campus with a public facing Web page and educational programs that are being created to provide information on the new policy and cessation support available to smokers who want to quit."
Additionally, OCC's Student Health Center has hired a Smoking Cessation Specialist to oversee cessations efforts. "The SHC's tobacco cessation program will help individuals in their quitting of smoking or vaping," says Hanlon. "Participants can choose among seminars, classes, or individual counseling facilitated by our Tobacco Cessation Specialist. Sessions are free, confidential and open to all OCC students, staff and faculty."