BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (WDTV)- If you've walked around West Virginia Wesleyan College at all for the start of this fall semester, you may have noticed a few changes. The school's just become the fifth one in our state to go tobacco-free.
The fire pit between a few buildings is now the designated area for another kind of smoke. It's one of four tobacco use zones on campus and the only one that's this centrally located.
The other three zones are more on the outskirts of campus, but they're all here until January. That's when the campus goes completely tobacco-free. But school officials recognize it may take longer than that for people to stop smoking, if that's what they're trying to do, so they'll have cessation classes.
"People here will be trained not only in how to conduct those courses, but how to connect people to the resources, whether that's nicotine patches and things like that or nicotine gum,” said John Waltz, Vice President of enrollment management and student development. “Or sort of the fundamentals behind why this stuff goes on, also connections to things like RAZE and things like that."
One of the students who got this all started says the response to the zones these first days of classes has been mostly positive, especially from new freshmen.
"It's not like they're really surprised about it because they're just used to it through their high school," said nursing major Clayton Porter.
This stands true for some of those not coming straight from high school.
"I'm glad there's like a space on campus where they can still do that at. In like their own little free will,” said student Tyler Gleason.
Their placement was brought up by several people. One woman smoking in the area by the tennis courts loved the spot because it was out of the way and under a tree. But a tennis player didn't like that the spot was there, even though new courts elsewhere will open soon. A woman smoking at the fire pit zone felt things were just better before.
"A lot of us were in places where we were 30 feet from the buildings and it was better than being out here in the wide open where people can complain," she told 5 News.
She says she'll just have to walk further to get off campus next semester.
"There could be small fines or certain charges associated with breaking a campus rule,” Waltz said. “What we're going to do is if they're willing to attend the cessation classes there may not be a charge or a fine or something like that for breaking one of those things. So again it's a better connection to an educational resource."
To learn more about the cessation classes in particular, see more of Waltz's interview above.