Electronic cigarettes receive same regulations as smoking at UNA

Regulations now exist for smoking electronic cigarettes, also called vaping, on campus. Vaping will not be allowed within 30 feet of entrances, exits, open windows and interconnected breezeways.

The board of trustees revised the UNA Tobacco and Smoking Policy June 29 to put more emphasis on the terms “tobacco product” and “smoking.”

“Regardless if it’s a traditional cig or a vape, it involves the emission of odor, and it can be a distraction in a public area and certainly in a classroom,” said Board of Trustees President Pro Tempore Marty Abroms. “We don’t want to step on the rights of any individual, but we don’t know the long-term health effects.”

According to the policy, a “tobacco product” refers to any form of tobacco consumed by smoking or non-smoking means.

The policy states smoking refers to “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette or pipe and to the use of any such electronic or other device that is used as an alternative to traditional tobacco products and that produces a smoke or vapor when in use.”

Abroms said the administration recommended and implemented the inclusion of vaping.

“We made the decisions best for the majority here on campus,” he said.

The use of vapor products is prohibited within all UNA facilities, as expressed in the policy.

“I think that it’s a bad idea,” said senior Matisse O’Neal. “Smoking inside with a vape is OK as long as you’re not doing it in someone else’s face. It’s technically not real smoke.”

O’Neal said she thinks vaping is a positive alternative to smoking. If that alternative is treated like a cigarette, she said she thinks people will just smoke cigarettes instead of vaping.

“Some of our students will not like it, although I think it is the right decision given what info we have,” Abroms said.

“I don’t think it’s fair if it could bother another student or person in a public area,” Abroms said.

Freshman Lauren Gasque said she thinks smoking electronic cigarettes is unhealthy.

“But, it’s not going to hurt people as much as smoking does because it’s vapor, not cigarette smoke,” Gasque said.

Abroms said he and the board of trustees want to take everyone’s feelings into account.

“Vaping should be done outside because vaping is kind of like smoking,” said freshman Teresa Keeton.