It’s the afternoon and you’re attending your three-hour chemistry lab. The material is getting more complex, your body gets jittery and demands you give it a break. You’re a smoker and you know that you’re not allowed to smoke on campus, according to the policy. This results in leaving campus for 20 minutes which could eventually affect your academics.
An effective alternative can be to ditch the cigarette and use an e-cigarette instead. The problem is that those too may become banned from use at school.
According to Sergeant Jim McKamy from Campus Safety, administration has given them notice to start enforcing against the use of e-cigarettes on campus.
“We have been told by administration that e-cigarettes are also not allowed on campus,” said McKamy.
E-cigarettes are not regular cigarettes, they are electronic and release a vaporized liquid which is inhaled and gives the same sensation as smoking. Some contain nicotine and do not produce the smell, carcinogens, second-hand smoke or contain tar as ordinary cigarettes do, which are the causes for poor health. It can lead to throat or lung cancer, as well as coronary heart disease.
“We believe the produce is a good alternative [and can help] people down the risk ladder from cigarettes,” said Eric Criss, President and Chief Executive of Electronic Cigarette Industry Group.
The talk and proposal brought by the Associated Students to change FC into a smoke-free campus had started nine years ago during the 2004-2005 academic year. It went into deliberation in February 2007 at the President’s Advisory Council and ultimately approved by Kathleen Hodge, the colleges president of that time.
The policy, NOCCD: AP 3570, is the district policy that FC follows for smoking which states that the campus is not actually a “non-smoking campus.” The policy states that smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of a main exit/entrance or window but allowed nonetheless.
It does not necessarily apply to everyone as well. Full-time faculty and classified staff are allowed to smoke on campus as long as they abide by the 20 feet rule, while part-time faculty, students and guests are not allowed to on FC grounds.
Students had different thoughts on the topic of the smoking policy’s double standards and the plan to possibly apply same rules to e-cigarettes as well.
“I think if people want to smoke, they can smoke,” said student, Alex Monroe. “Just have common courtesy.”
“School should ban e-cigarettes,” said Melfred Culas, FC student. “Although they don’t leave smoke or ashes, [they] still contains nicotine which is really addictive.”
“I do agree that e-cigarettes should not be allowed indoors but they should be allowed outdoors on the main campus grounds because they don’t leave a trail of smoke or butts,” said student Paris Fields, 25, while smoking outside school grounds. “They should have designated areas for smoking.”
Back in February 2010, PAC had voted to implement designated smoking areas on the outskirts of campus with an 8-2 vote. Peter Cornett, the President of Associated Student at that time had drafted the idea before he became president. Although students proposed the ban of smoking on school grounds three years prior, the new AS had pushed for the implementation of designated smoking areas to compromise between the smokers and non smokers.
Only three months later was the motion overruled by Sam Schauerman which kept the campus smoke-free once again. President Rujen Vurdien had supported the overruling and said that because most students wanted a smoke-free campus he would comply with the policy which was his responsibility as president.
Campus Safety has recently been pushing its staff towards enforcing the policy more on people smoking in campus. Every half-hour at least one person is patrolling areas and advising people not to smoke. This has been happening extensively since the beginning of the semester.
“We’re educating people who may not know the policy that if you are a guest or a student, you cannot smoke,” said McKamy.
When they come across people smoking they tell them to either go outside campus or put out cigarettes and if they fail to comply with the rules, a report is written and can lead to other consequences for not following campus rules and policies.
Ben Crowell, Physics professor at FC does not like the current policy the college has because it has a negative educational impact on the students and professors.
“I see students disappear from lab and go off campus because the policy doesn’t allow them to smoke on campus, then they have to walk all the way back,” said Crowell.
He is for e-cigarette use and stated that they are “the best of both worlds” because unlike regular cigarettes, they don’t produce smoke, there is a harm reduction with the fact that they don’t have carcinogens which can lead to cancer and don’t leave a mess. He would like to have the college to encourage students with a nicotine habit to switch to vaping.
He continued by mentioning that students should be able to do it outside of class for a few minutes during a break; the student can easily go back to class after they distress themselves.
Since the campus is smoke-free, there are no ash trays. This leaves certain spots on campus where people are often seen smoking to be left with cigarette butts and the smell of smoke. The campus itself can provide ash trays around those areas and it can help the area get cleaner.
Gilbert Ross, MD and executive and medical director of the American Council of Science and Health has said that there is misleading information about e-cigarettes and even the Food and Drug Association and the Centers for Disease Control have joined into the widespread amount of misinformation
“They purposely ignore studies that indicate the benefit of e-cigarettes for helping smokers quit,” said Ross.
Thomas Glynn Director of Science and Trends at the American Cancer Society has stated that there is a greater chance that the e-cigarettes are considerably less harmful than cigarettes. He continued by stating that anything inhaled that is not fresh and not involving clean air will always have some risks to it.