Will e-cigs be vaporized on campus?

Posted on 26 February 2014 by admin

STLCC considers potential banecigs students
By: JASON JAMISON

Staff Writer

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have provided another alternative to smoking traditional tobacco rolled cigarettes in the U.S. since 2006. However, public places are beginning to add e-cigarettes to their list of banned smoking apparatuses. The latest coming on Feb. 17, when Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE) banned e-cigarettes from their campus.

At STLCC-Meramec, there is no policy that covers e-cigarettes in the STLCC Student Handbook. That may change next month, according to Paula Savarino, Chairwoman of the College Institutional Affairs Council (CIAC).

As part of the CIAC, Savarino will be meeting with the College Academic Council on March 3 in order to discuss an official policy for e-cigarettes.

“We don’t know exactly where we are going to take it,” Savarino said. “But we know that we definitely want to ban e-cigarettes from classrooms, regardless of instructor preference.”

With no policy in place, at the moment, students and faculty are allowed to use e-cigarettes at their discretion.

“Are you supposed to assume that you aren’t allowed to smoke e-cigarettes?” Sophomore Maria Doubeck said. “I think you have to take into consideration what it would take to make a policy and what it would include. In class it may be a distraction to some, but not bother others.”

According to Lt. Ben Talley of the Meramec Police Department, the use of e-cigarettes outside of buildings is not a problem.

“We are currently not taking any action against the usage of e-cigarettes outdoors,” Talley said. “There are no issues with using them outside. We don’t make arrests for violations of [tobacco] policies.”

The use of e-cigarettes in the classroom falls into the same area of discretion as food and cellphone usage, according to Kim Fitzgerald, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs. It is up to the instructor.

“The instructor determines the rules of the classroom. As with all devices, it is completely up to the instructor what is allowed in their class,” Fitzgerald said. “There is a tobacco-free policy, not smoke free.”
Some professors are beginning to include their personal ban of e-cigarettes into their class syllabus.

“I’ve had to include it in the syllabus,” Professor of Psychology, Dr. Vikki Ritz said. “It’s an evolving policy. When a new policy begins to evolve, it becomes hard to think of all the contingencies.”

Talley said that one of the gray areas of e-cigarettes is the uncertainty of what may actually be in them and there is no current form of field testing for e-cigarettes.

“There is no field test for what is in an e-cigarette seeing as how they are relatively new on the market,” Talley said.

Anthony Russo, Chief of Meramec Police, said that he and his officers are on campus to ensure a secure and enjoyable environment while keeping the peace and carrying out policy.

“I just want to make sure the campus is safe for everyone. We try to not be an occupying force,” Russo said. “We will enforce whatever policy the college comes up with, but we really don’t have any problems. Most of the students are cooperative.”

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