STLCC adds electronic cigarettes to smoking ban

Posted on 21 October 2014 by admin

Concerns from students and faculty lead to district-wide ban on smoking 

e-cigsBy: ASHLEY HIGGINBOTHAM
Staff Writer

An email was recently sent to St. Louis Community College students about a new ban on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Students are no longer allowed to use e-cigarettes anywhere on campus. Faculty members have been researching this new type of cigarette for over a year before it was brought to the Board of Trustees.

“This is just an extension of the goal of having a healthy campus, and setting the right example,” Board of Trustees Chair Craig Larson said. “In the last year or two, colleges all around the country are including e-cigarettes because of the concern that they are just another way to smoke, and we don’t want students to think that if they used an e-cigarette, that they could get past it.”

The Board added this extension of the tobacco ban for health reasons only.

“Our goal is not to make our campuses any less inviting to the students who want to be here, and some of those students smoke, so this decision was not intended to be an ‘I gotcha’ to our students,” Larson said.

Larson and Interim Auxiliary Service Manager Paula Savarino both agreed the goal is to have a healthy campus overall.

According to WebMD, an electronic cigarette is a new way to smoke without burning tobacco. The released smoke is vapor, which is why using one is called, “vaping.” Inside the cigarette is a battery, a cartridge and a heating tool. The battery heats up the heating tool which heats up the nicotine and any other flavorings that is inside.

“These e-cigarettes were getting a lot of complaints from students on campus,” Savarino said.

Savarino also said it was not just students complaining – staff and faculty also had a few words to share. When enough people complain about an issue, it comes up as an agenda item to the governance council. The issue was addressed to Meramec and STLCC – Florissant Valley had was discussed at a meeting.

“They decided that it should be discussed at all campuses, and it passed pretty fast overwhelmingly,” Savarino said.

Once the governance council passes the new rule, they get together with a leadership team including the chancellor, the vice chancellor and associate chancellors, who then vote.

“Once it is approved, the chancellor takes it as a recommendation to the Board of Trustees,” Savarino said.

The board agreed upon it, and it was passed. Larson said no one had concerns against the policy. However, this was not a quick decision. Larson said the Board watches a policy for a few months to see how it works out. There was research put into this policy before it was passed, Savarino said. The council had been researching the e-cigarette for over a year before they decided to go any further.

“We were seeing that other things could go inside of those things to be used for other reasons, and we cannot just check the inside of every single student that has one,” Savarino said.

According to NJOY, the inside of an e-cigarette gel is nicotine and a few other harmless ingredients. The product that is made is vapor.

“We have found in our studies that it is not just vapor and nicotine and we have a whole cross section of finding other things inside of them,” Savarino said.

Larson said that this is all about health, and they want to discourage people from “a really bad habit.”

Starting Oct. 27, campus police will start issuing tickets for using an e-cigarette on campus.

“We are giving students a two week warning period,” Chief of Police, Anthony Russo said.

After that warning period, a fine of $15 will be given to students caught using them. If a student receives one, they must pay it at the Cashier’s Office. While there is no time limit to pay the ticket, students will not be able to receive their transcripts or graduate until it is paid at the end of the semester. Savarino said they are just “leading the way to being cautious” on STLCC campuses.

e-cig ban

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