Once upon a time, Michael Nash was allowed to use his electronic cigarette in his dorm at his leisure. He was shocked to find out this would no longer be acceptable behavior.
In December of 2013, e-cigarettes were added to the campus-wide ban of tobacco. Electronic cigarettes are no longer allowed inside of Boise State owned or leased buildings. Conventional cigarettes are banned everywhere on campus; electronic cigarettes are allowed outdoors.
This policy includes University Housing. Students will be permitted to own electronic cigarettes but will not be allowed to use them inside buildings.
Malinda Jensen, assistant director of resident life, explained University Housing was only just informed of the policy and will be enforcing the policy but will develop a campaign to inform students first.
“I’m happy we have a policy, I’ve had a number of students ask me for one. It’s been a cause of some roommate conflicts,” Jensen said.
Nash, a freshman mechanical engineering major who lives on campus, is not happy with the new policy.
“I think it should be allowed. There’s no harm whatsoever. I understand maybe not doing it in public places where people might get offended by the smell,” Nash said. “But in private places like your dorm, it should be allowed. There’s really no harm to them.”
Greg Hahn, associate vice president for Communications and Marketing, said students and faculty will have to adjust to this change.
“I think people will go outside. I think you just sort of adapt,” Hahn said. “Hopefully we can get a campus-wide discussion on what people want to do with this.”
Hahn also explained this change in policy was necessary because e-cigarettes can be disruptive.
“In classrooms and labs it can be distracting at the very least,” Hahn said.
According to Hahn, the policy change was headed up by Chris Mathias, former policy manager, before he left Boise State to work for the State Board of Education.
“Chris spent a lot of time exploring what we really know about this and decided it is a little too early to really know anything. It is a value judgment on the part of the university,” Hahn said.
The policy states its purpose is “to establish the policy and procedures regulating smoking, tobacco and nicotine use on Boise State University owned and leased properties.”
The policy goes on to say, “This policy promotes a healthy and safe environment conducive to learning for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
Health Services is listed as a “Responsible Party” on the policy’s page but was unaware of the incorporation of e-cigarettes to the policy.
“I didn’t know about it, but I’m glad there is one,” said Julia Beard, assistant director for Clinical Operations and Quality Assurance.
In reference to enforcement, the policy states: “Campus Security and Police Services have primary responsibility to coordinate efforts for policy enforcement. However, faculty staff, and students have a collective responsibility to promote the safety and health of the campus community and therefore share in the responsibility of
Ryan Gregg, president of Associated Students of Boise State, believes the policy falls in line with Boise State’s initiative to promote healthy lifestyles.
“I think that it personally has to do with it being a tobacco-free campus, not just smoke-free, and trying to promote a healthier lifestyle,” Gregg said.
Gregg believes the campus community will not be very upset about the policy.
“I think it will be the same response as when we instituted the no smoking ban. I think the people that do use them might be upset but the major population of the university won’t be impacted by this,” Gregg said.