Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapor cigarettes, or vapes as known by many are virtually everywhere lately. E-cigarettes were initially thought to be the healthier alternative to the smoker’s bad habit. These devices ascended on Lewis and Clark’s campus like a heavy fog and then, suddenly, they were gone.
Gary Ayres, Vice President of Administration at Lewis and Clark Community College, discussed the school’s policy on campus smoking, and e-cigarettes in particular.
As of Nov., 2013, electronic cigarettes are banned inside all campus buildings and are banned within 15 feet of all doorways and vents of facilities. This decision includes any smoking device; cigarette, e-cigarette, or otherwise.
When asked who was most concerned about the problem with smoking, Ayres confirmed that most of the calls came from faculty. Although there have been calls about this issue, he said the board doesn’t know the risks or harm of these smoking devices yet.
Regarding the trend of banning electronic cigarettes among colleges and universities, Ayres explains:
“Most colleges and universities I have surveyed have prohibited the use of e-cigarettes just as they have cigarettes”.
Brandon Maynard, a student here on campus, started smoking e-cigarettes to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes six months ago. He feels the chemicals in regular cigarettes “are bad, but the stress relief is good”. Brandon says he is aware of the current rules regarding on-campus use of e-cigarettes and both agrees and disagrees, with them. His feeling is that e-cigarettes should be allowed in the cafeteria, since that is a “common area”.
As with any rule, violators are subject to punishment. If caught, a student will receive a warning and be informed on school policy. On a more serious note, a habitual offender will be issued a citation.
When asked whether e-cigarette smokers violate the rules often, Ayres said offenders were rare. He said most people were simply unaware of the rules or, for example, smoking close to a doorway to get out of bad weather. He said the department is looking into ways to make people aware of smoking boundaries, such as “No smoking beyond this point” signs.