Electronic cigarettes banned on campus

The University of New Orleans has joined the rest of the Louisiana public education system in its decision to ban electronic cigarettes from campus. Effective immediately, there will be a penalty for any student using an electronic vaping device on campus grounds.

Unlike the government-mandated tobacco ban that took place in fall of 2014, this rule is one that the university has decided to implement without prodding from the government. UNO is actually one of the last major public educational institutions to ban the devices. Louisiana State University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have already outlawed them, citing similar concerns about unregulated nicotine juices and devices.

According to Dean of Student Affairs Brett Kemker, the university is acting in accordance with information that is slowly evolving. “The evolution of e-cigs has exploded. All of a sudden people have hundreds of options. The FDA was slow in their reaction to it, and it’s only been since last May that the FDA has any kind of control over the regulation of electronic cigarettes.”

“That’s going to take two or three years for them to really get a handle on them. As of now, there is no shutdown. It’s going to take them probably about three years to evaluate, assess, and get everything regulated. So in that time frame, there is a real chance of harmful chemicals being in the vapor. So until we understand that, we have decided to err on the side of caution and ban e-cigs.”

Some students are not happy with the new rule, claiming that the issue is not black and white. Brian Legendre, a senior majoring in business management, said he thinks that the ban won’t do much good for student health. “I don’t think it’s going to help students’ health at all. If you’re addicted to nicotine, this isn’t going to stop you from vaping on campus. Students are just going to go to their car or vape in secluded spots. The tobacco ban didn’t stop students from smoking on campus, it just made them make sure they’re not caught. Same with this.”

Many students agree that the ban will do very little to stop vaping on campus. Other students are glad; what they feel are risky devices are going to be off campus, or at least not in plain sight.
Sophomore Clayton Constant said, “Honestly, I’m happy because we don’t know the long-term effects of those e-cigs. For all we know they could be a lot worse than people already think.”