What does being "tobacco free" mean, exactly?
Isn’t it my right to use tobacco?
Tobacco is a legal product that can be purchased and possessed at the discretion of any adult; however, the use of tobacco is subject to restrictions. This is evidenced by the numerous public bans on the use of tobacco, which have been put into place by state laws as well as by businesses and organizations throughout the state and the nation.
HCC is not taking away anyone's right to smoke or purchase and/or possess tobacco. Two of HCC's College-wide Priorities and Goals are to "Improve Student Satisfaction" and to "Ensure Resource Stewardship". Therefore, out of respect for others and the environment, HCC is a tobacco free campus.
Why not have designated smoking areas instead?
The 2006 US Surgeon General’s Report, "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," has concluded exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, according to the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke and the only effective way to protect others is to establish 100% smoke-free environments.
Because of these findings, and because there is no way to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke when using designated areas, HCC has chosen to adopt a policy that prohibits the use of tobacco products on HCC's campus.
How will this policy be enforced?
HCC's primary goal is to achieve voluntary compliance with the tobacco-free policy by educating students, faculty, staff, and visitors about the policy and providing tobacco cessation assistance to faculty, staff and students. However, enforcement is often necessary to aid in the adoption of a new policy. Violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Student violators will be subject to the Student Code of Conduct, and employees will be subject to the Employee Handbook.
Visitors who violate the policy will be informed that Heartland Community College is a tobacco-free campus. Visitors who continue to violate the policy following a warning will be escorted off campus.
Can I smoke in my car?
We highly discourage smoking in vehicles immediately prior to entering HCC property due to the 3rd hand particulate that is deposited on clothing. However, you may use tobacco products within the confines of your personal motor vehicle. This right does not extend to individuals on motorcycles or in the bed of a pickup truck. Please properly dispose of all tobacco remains. Those choosing to litter the remains will be subject to the state law as listed below.
What are the fines for littering the remains of my tobacco products?
As of January 1, 2014, the Illinois Litter Control Act (415 ILCS 105) penalties are as follows:
- A first time conviction is a class B misdemeanor with a fine not exceeding $1,500.
- A second conviction is a class A misdemeanor with a fine not exceeding $1,500.
- Third or subsequent convictions will be a class 4 felony, punishable by a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment not less than one year and not more than three years.
Where are the College boundaries?
HCC's property includes everything on the North side of Raab Road and extends from the east of the Corn Crib up to the bridge that crosses Interstate 74/55. While the Raab Road sidewalk and Constitution Trail are property of the Town of Normal, we highly discourage the use of tobacco on these areas. Please properly dispose of all tobacco remains. Those choosing to litter the remains will be subject to state law penalties as listed above.
I saw people smoking behind the Normal Readiness Center (NRC). Why can't I smoke there?
Can I use tobacco products on the Lincoln or Pontiac campuses?
Heartland Community College leases the building space in both of these areas, so the Smoke Free Illinois Act (410 ILCS 82) shall prevail on these campuses. This Act states:
"No person shall smoke in a public place or in any place of employment or within 15 feet of any entrance."
However, the use of smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping devices, or any other non-FDA approved nicotine delivering device is now prohibited within the confines of the Lincoln and Pontiac buildings.