E-cigs a way out of no smoking debacle?
Audrey Dighans | copy editor
A smoky past
Pitt State is not new to the sight of a cigarette butt on campus. Whether it be lining the sidewalk or still smoldering in an ash bin outside a building, cigarettes are one of the most common sights of tobacco use on campus.
“People complain when I smoke,” said Danny Hill, sophomore in marketing and management. “Even if I am in a designated area, I once had to show an RA I was indeed 10 feet away from the door by walking out the steps.”
The current policy on smoking and tobacco use states that it is prohibited in all buildings, facilities and vehicles owned by the university. It’s not allowed within 10 feet of any doorway, open window or air intake leading into those buildings.
Hill says that he is OK with and agrees with the current policy. He believes it is fair to both smokers and non-smokers.
Last year Jim Triplett, professor in biology, and Rita Girth, operations director for student health services, were asked by Steve Scott, president, to form the Tobacco Policy Task Force.
More than 1,200 students, faculty, staff and alumni, or about 17 percent of the campus population, responded to an online survey conducted by the task force, with 65 percent of the survey respondents supporting a tobacco-free policy on campus.
The task force sent a recommendation to university president Steve Scott to institute a tobacco ban on campus. However, no specifications for enforcement have yet been outlined.
With students responding in support and students reporting they do not agree with the idea of no tobacco use on campus one question has yet been addressed. Where do electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigs,” fall in this debate?
“E-cigs use zero tobacco,” said Tyler Loseke, sophomore in wood technology. “They use liquid nicotine, which you can obtain in various percentages and flavors. It’s not smoking, you breathe out water vapor. It’s ‘vaping.’”
Since e-cigs do not in fact use tobacco they are not subject to U.S. tobacco laws. They can be purchased by anyone, even persons under the age of 18, and can legally be “smoked” indoors.
Loseke says that e-cigs are a growing cultural fad because they are a better investment than traditional cigarettes.
are refillable, rechargeable, a small amount of liquid can last a long time and that all adds to saving money,” Loseke said. “It’s a growing trend, two stores both opened up near where I live in the past year.”
Not everyone is impressed by the new technology.
“They (e-cigs) are a product of the tobacco companies and it is still nicotine,” Triplett said. “Nicotine is what gets you addicted to cigarettes and that’s the one thing e-cigs provide.”
Triplett adds that the target audience for the tobacco industry is college students.
“They know that if you get out of college without developing an addiction to nicotine then you probably never will,” he said.
Triplett says that e-cigs are an even more addictive source of nicotine due to the positive appeals they bring to the table.
“There’s no cloud of smoke emitted, no foul odor,” Loseke said.
Triplett says it’s because of those two factors that e-cigs have a better chance of getting people addicted to nicotine.
“It’s all the positives without the negatives,” Triplett said. “It makes no sense to embrace e-cigs. They are a tobacco product made by the industry to keep people addicted.”
Long says he also has his dislikes about e-cigs.
“I still think they smell bad,” he said. “They shouldn’t be allowed for use indoors. I wouldn’t want to sit next to someone smoking one in class just like I wouldn’t want to sit next to someone smoking a cigarette.”