Smokers at Westchester Community College will soon have to snuff out their cigarettes as the school joins the growing number of colleges in the state to ban tobacco on campus. “Our primary issue is secondhand smoke,” WCC spokesman Patrick Hennessy said. “There have been many, many students who have complained about smoking on the campus.”

It appears WCC will be the first college in Westchester County to prohibit tobacco in all forms on campus, according to a review of student handbooks. Two colleges in Rockland County already have bans in effect.

Seventeen percent of college campuses in the state have adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies, and an additional 23 percent have plans to adopt them, according to a report from the American Cancer Society.

WCC’s new policy, which will go into effect Jan. 1, will replace the current rule that allows people to smoke outside, but “not close to buildings,” Hennessy said.

Students puffing away before their classes this week were skeptical and outraged about the new rule.

“It’s just not going to happen,” said James Davy, 27, of Yonkers. “It’s unjustifiable. There is going to be so much backlash, they will give in to it. I’m sure they have good intentions, which is fine, but I’m an adult. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.”

Hennessy acknowledged there might be initial resistance to the change.

“We are going to give students a semester to adjust to it,” he said. “It’s not like we are coming down hard on students from the outset.”

But in the future, students could face disciplinary action, fines or limited access to campus if they don’t comply, he said.

Matthew Berger, 28, of Yorktown said not all smokers are inconsiderate of others.

“I think our rights are being taken away,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair when people walk outside the building and they have to breathe the smoke, but I try to go away from it.”

But nonsmokers on campus said they welcome the new rule.

“I smell like I’ve been smoking just from walking around here,” said Jenny Ward, 19, of Brewster. “It’s nice to have clean air.”