MGCCC campuses going smoke free - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MGCCC campuses going smoke free

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Look around campus and it's not hard to spot cigarette butts. Not just in the ash cans and concrete urns, but just about everywhere else too. 

Dr. Carmen Walters is the vice-president of the Jackson County campus. The decision to go tobacco free was an easy one to make.

"A big part of the plan is the health and well being of our employees. We are looking forward to having a great, healthy student body. Healthy faculty and healthy staff, so that they can be more engaged," Walters said. 

Students seem to like the idea of a tobacco free campus. One of them is Yeitza Fonseca.  

"I was talking to my friend and she was saying 'I hope it's going to be right, because it's going to be healthy and beneficial for everybody.' We were talking about it and she said it would be a great idea," Fonseca said. 

For other students, like Chasen Bragg, there are other reasons to embrace the change.  

"I think it's a great idea. Really the smoke smell bothers me. I'm an asthmatic so every time I walk out of a building, it's just people smoking. Smoking. Smoking all around it," Bragg explained. 

Even students who do smoke, like Jeremy Schoenick, don't seem to mind.

"I started back school and started smoking again, but you know it's good for the campus. It makes it prettier. You can walk around and see cigarette butts all over the ground," Schoenick said. 

While college officials are lauding this decision to go tobacco free and litter free on January when classes return after the Christmas break, they are also lauding something else. They said it's not simply an edict, but a way to help students. 

Dr. Walters explained, "We have a cessation program in place where students are getting 12 weeks of free treatment to stop smoking and employees are able to participate in that program. We're giving them all the tools that they need. It's been received very well."

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has three main campuses in Stone, Jackson, and Harrison Counties, as well as four satellite campuses.  All will become tobacco free on next month.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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