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E-cigarettes spark UCC smoking policy reform

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Jared Hegg / Mainstream

The beginning stages of revising the UCC smoking and tobacco policies are currently underway.

The College Council will be updating the campus smoking policy to include e-cigarettes. Inconsistencies within the tobacco free campus administrative procedure and UCC’s smoke- free campus board policies will be addressed as well.

The College Council discussed the response from questions regarding e- cigarettes sent out to faculty and staff earlier in the term, as well as student feedback gathered from ASUCC student leadership representatives on May 13. As of press time, a deadline for the final decision is unclear. 

Currently, UCC’s smoking policy allows students to smoke in designated areas on the perimeter of campus. Students can be given a $25 citation from campus security for not following the procedure, according to Security Director Steve Buchko.

The increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes led to a realization by many institutions, including UCC, that smoking and tobacco policies needed to be updated partly because of the unique nature of the e-cigarette.

E-cigerettes do not fall under the criteria for either a tobacco policy or a smoking policy. E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that converts liquid nicotine into a vapor. They are flameless and release a vapor, rather than secondhand smoke from a traditional cigarette.

The FDA and CDC have both released statements about the potential dangers. Both agencies are continuing to research the product, despite the court ruling e- cigarettes as a tobacco product, rather than a smoking aid or drug.

Summer Clark, English major, has concerns the e-cigarettes are not safe and would prefer not to be exposed to the second hand vapor while on campus. “I don’t trust those things. I want to see more research and evidence. They should be allowed in the smoking area, only for sure.”

According to Buchko, campus security guards are not allowing e-cigarettes to be used indoors, but since UCC has no policy regarding e-cigarettes, they are limited by what they can enforce while a student is outdoors on campus smoking an e-cigarette. 

“It’s a gray area. I don’t want to allow it, but at the same time, I can’t stop it,” Buchko said. “There is no policy.”

Buchko is confident the policy will be updated to e-cigarettes not being allowed indoors.  The policy regarding e- cigarette use outdoors is to be decided by the College Council.

Despite controversy, other institutions have successfully passed policies regarding e- cigarettes. Lane Community College updated their policy in September 2010 to ban e-cigarettes on campus, according to the Lane Community College website.

Check Out the Student Survey on E-Cigarettes