University of Central Arkansas Trustees voted unanimously Friday to ban the use of electronic cigarettes on the school’s campus and in university owned vehicles.
Trustees updated the board’s existing policy adopted in 2009 that prohibited the use of any tobacco products on campus property to include "electronic cigarettes."
Electronic cigarettes release water vapor containing nicotine to the user, and the vapor is expelled.
The new policy was recommended by a committee that formed last fall under Dr. Randy Pastor, UCA Student Health Clinic medical director.
The "electronic cigarette committee" concluded "e-cigarettes" and "vaping" should be covered under the school’s existing tobacco policy.
Pastor said in the committee’s letter to UCA President Tom Courtway that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not ruled on including e-cigarettes in its oversight of conventional tobacco products, but that there is a "large concern by the medical community" about the unknown immediate effects on humans of direct or secondhand nicotine vapors emitted by electronic cigarette devices.
According to the FDA’s website, the agency intends to issue a proposed rule extending its authority to include cigarettes, and also to fold in another tobacco product inhaled through vapor, hookah.
The FDA also plans to include cigars, pipe tobacco, other novel tobacco products, and any "future tobacco products."
Pastor says in the recommendation there is "strong evidence" the ruling will pass.
Before coming in line with Arkansas General Assembly legislation prohibiting the use of tobacco on public school campuses passed in 2009, the school banned smoking within 25 feet of its building entrances.
The amendment to the policy passed without discussion from faculty or students Friday.
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