Today marks five years since one Missouri Community College went completely smoke free and since then Ozarks Technical Community College has helped other schools across the state and country become completely tobacco free too.
OTC was the first campus ever to go completely smoke free. Getting all faculty, staff and employees to comply with the policy was a matter of changing the way officials treated violators, said The Center of Excellence for Tobacco-Free Campus Policy director, Ty Patterson.
"Part of the problem with the old approaches that have been taken is this enforcement idea of hammering people," he said. "Our approach has been do not demonize the tobacco user, ever. Do not approach them in a harsh way. Be understanding."
Patterson travels across the country advising campuses on how to become completely tobacco free. OTC also hosts an annual workshop for higher education officials interested in learning how to make their campus tobacco free.