Should OU Smoking Policy Include Vaping?

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ATHENS, Ohio – Although Ohio University banned smoking on campus six years ago, a recent spike in  vaping is raising concerns that the policy needs to be amended.

Ohio University’s Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy, established in 2012, mostly dealt with traditional cigarette use. The policy’s brief mention of e-cigarettes is seen as inadequate by many Ohio University students who argue it is not enough to combat the rising trend of vaping.

The call for change comes not only because people are consuming nicotine differently, but also because it is being consumed in much greater quantities. One of America’s most popular vape brands, the Juul, contains fifty milligrams of nicotine per cartridge compared to the fourteen milligrams of nicotine found in the average cigarette.

Despite the growth of vaping, Ohio University’s smoking policy remains unchanged since its implementation.

In addition Jason Tishler, a freshman at Ohio University, said he doesn’t feel even the current policy is being enforced.

The Juul (left)
Juul products left on the street
A student vapes uptown
Phone number to call to report a smoking violation
Valero advertising Juul products

“I mean I know that it’s a tobacco-free campus and that there’s a lot of like rules and regulations,” he said. “But I still see people juuling and vaping outside of like buildings and outside dorms, so I mean like kind of, but not really.”

Tishler said the Juul is too accessible, but he acknowledged he doesn’t know if the school can do anything about it.

“I don’t use the Juul, but my friends do,” he said. “There are four stores on Court Street that sell Juul products, and I know multiple underage people who have bought Juul products from those stores.”

The CDC reports that over 9 million Americans vape regularly. Vaping has not been extensively researched, so there’s no medical consensus on just how bad the Juul is compared to cigarettes. What can be noted is how the trend of owning a Juul has hurt the school directly.

“They’re extremely concealable,” Resident Advisor Joe Semrad said. “One thing that I’ve encountered the most in the residence halls are fire alarms going off. It’s either directly as the result of vaping, or from air-freshener use in order to cover up the smoke and scent.”

Semrad also said juuling in the dorm can be expensive.

“Vaping has caused a large number of fire alarms, which in turn costs thousands of dollars for the university,”  Semrad said. “So this is really more than an issue of personal health.”