Highland Community College Goes Tobacco-Free

Cropped Photo: Lars Plougmann
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FREEPORT (WIFR) – A local campus is going completely tobacco free as students head back to the classroom.

Class is back in session at Highland Community College and students like Skipper Bushey are being greeted by a new rule as soon as they enter the building.

Last year, ash trays were required to be at least 15 feet from every main entrance, but this year students won’t even see those.

The ash trays have been replaced by signs all over campus. A new Illinois law that passed on July 1, bans smoking on all college campuses. Students can only smoke in their cars. However, Highland Community College in Freeport has extended the ban to include smokeless tobacco products as well.

“Life’s not fair ya know, so you’re going to have to follow rules and regulations you don’t agree with,” said Bushey.

Bushey says he started using chewing tobacco when he was just 16 playing high school baseball.

“If you’re 18 and you can smoke, you probably feel like you should be able to do it everywhere, but it doesn’t matter if you’re on someone else’s property. You have to follow their rules whether you like them or not, it’s just the respect factor," said Bushey.

While some students support the ban, others don’t understand the extension.

“It’s ridiculous. They had designated smoking areas, so have designated vaping spots,” says student Cynthia French who uses e-cigarettes.

“We’re offering smoking cessation programs for free and we’re offering quit kits to get them through the day, says Liz Gerber, Vice President of Student Development and Support.

The college is handing out kits to help students quit and will include gum, cinnamon, rubber bands, and hard candies.

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