E-cigarettes Banned at Auraria

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Posted Thu, Apr 17, 2014

Revised smoking policy bans smoking of electronic cigarettes inside and near campus buildings.

Vuse, a brand of e-cigarette, on sale at a gas station.

THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING: Vuse, a brand of e-cigarette, on sale at a gas station. [Photo by Alexander Ager]

DENVER — The newly revised Auraria Campus smoking policy prohibits electronic cigarettes inside and within 25 feet of campus buildings.

“I’m not surprised it happened,” said Dr. Shaun Schafer, Metropolitan State University of Denver journalism professor and program coordinator. “I figured a ban was quite probable almost as soon as I saw them happening.”

The new policy was approved and adopted by the Auraria Board of Directors Feb. 26. The new policy will treat e-cigarettes the same as cigarettes in terms of enforcement.

According to Auraria officials, Campus Police Officers and Neighborhood Community Officers will remind individuals of the campus policy and ask them to move to an approved area (outdoors).  However, the most likely course of action taken against a campus community member who disregards campus policies is referral to their respective institutions, i.e., Student Conduct Office (for students) or Human Resources Office (for faculty/staff).

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate cigarette smoking. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. There is instead a mechanism inside e-cigarettes that heats up liquid nicotine, which turns into a vapor that is inhaled and exhaled by the smoker. E-cigarettes, patented in 1965 by Herbert A. Gilbert in 1965, have experienced a popularity spike in recent years.

Indoor smoking of e-cigarettes has become more and more common in recent years. This has been due largely to a lack of understanding of the effects of second-hand smoke produced by them.

E-Cigarettes have been promoted as safer alternatives to regular cigarettes, but research is coming out that may contradict that notion. A study done by French magazine, 60 million consumers revealed that e-cigarettes are not as safe as they were marketed to be. The study found that e-cigarettes are potentially comparable in carcinogen levels, a substance that causes cancer, to regular cigarettes.

Schafer mentioned studies that tested what goes into the vapor produced by e-cigarettes besides nicotine. “A number of them have heavy metals in them,” He said. “I don’t want to breathing that in, you shouldn’t be breathing it in.”

Tom Skelley, MSU Denver student, does not see the use of e-cigarettes to be a problem. He sees the real problem to be the lack of enforcement of the current cigarette policy. “Honestly, I wish they would worry more about the people who don’t respect the 25 foot radius and smoke cigarettes right outside the door of every building,” Skelley said. “Those vapor things don’t bother me.”

Luke Faulkner, another MSU Denver student, is largely indifferent to e-cigarette smoking, but does have an objection to smoking indoors. “I think it’s kind of rude to be doing any kind of smoking inside a building,” Faulkner said.

“I believe that clear policies, along with a community that holds each other accountable, will be effective in preventing indoor use of e-cigarettes,” said Blaine Nickeson, assistant vice president of campus relations and chief of staff at the Auraria Higher Education Center.

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