Boise State adopted a no smoking policy in 2010 and became a smoke-free campus. However, smoking e-cigarettes or vapors has become a controversial topic on Boise State these days.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Today more than 1,159 university and college campuses have implemented tobacco or smoke-free policies, reflecting exponential growth.” Boise State is one of those campuses.
But for Broncos, the smoking policy is not something new. “In May 1988 it was brought up but wasn’t enforced and it’s gone through a couple of different phases. In 2010 it was revised and it’s been put into effect,” Vice President of Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) Bryan Vlok said.
The definition of smoking in the policy is: “smoking encompasses cigarettes, cigars, pipes and all other forms of smoke-generating products,” Vlok said. There is nothing about vapors or e-cigarettes.
“There are other Nicotine products and I don’t think they are in the smoking policy, for example smokeless tobacco,” Dr. Vincent J. Serio, director of medical services, said. “Clean air is one part of policy but also the university is taking the stand about habit of smoking. There is nothing good about it. It’s the only legal product that would kill you. It’s only going to hurt you.”
Vapor consumers think this new product is safe but are they really safe? “There is not a lot of science that’s been collected on e-cigarettes yet because they are a fairly new product they are not regulated in any way right now. FDA did an analysis on some of the components of the vapors and there are some compounds that could cause cancer in those vapors so we know that for sure,” Serio said.
Furthermore, people may think since vapors don’t have an actual flame they are safe to be used inside the buildings but according to KTVB in Coeur d’Alene an electronic cigarette exploded and a house caught on fire when a family of four slept one night.
“E-Cigarettes don’t bother me; they are kind of ridiculous in class but as far as on campus or in the library doesn’t bother me,” Maddie Cordovano, a Boise State student, said. But not all the Boise State students agreed with Cordovano and even facilities complain about smoking vapors inside the buildings, especially the library.
“I would say that’s probably not OK, because there are people there for studying and the last thing they need to be doing is smelling anything that is floating around the air,” Sevana, Boise State student, said.
Regardless of health issues, smoking vapors would give campus a bad look to the visitors. “We are visitors to Boise State campus and they see someone smokes I think it gives a poor connotation what we do here and how we act,” Vlok said.
What’s the alternative? Provide designated area for smokers? “We would like to. Whether that’s the Greenbelt or whether that’s a designated spot on campus I know we talked about in our policy when it was revised back in 2010,” Vlok said.
However Serio has a different point of view. “I think this is a mistake. We are in an institute of higher education overwhelmed by scientific knowledge and we are promoting research and learning here and how can we advocate the behavior on campus that is harmful to somebody?” Serio said.
According to U.S. Department of Education “approximately 18.9 percent of young adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18-24 smoke.” Although some people prefer to use e-cigarettes or vapors instead of traditional cigarettes because they think it’s a safe alternative to cigarettes or less dangerous but do we really know that? You can make that claim but prove it. Nobody proves that right now,” Serio said.