E-cigarette users will now join regular smokers in the designated smoking areas around campus.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that turn a liquid containing nicotine into a vapor that can be inhaled.
KC’s smoking policy states: “Smoking/tobacco products are allowed in designated areas only. Such products are prohibited in all other areas as well as inside all facilities and vehicles owned, leased or operated by Kilgore College.”
The administration decided to make it clear that the policy includes electronic cigarettes, which have become increasingly popular.
“Our current policy already covers eCigs, though perhaps not as prominently as some would like… though eCigs do not have a flame, they are ‘smoked,’” Dr. Mike Jenkins, vice president of student development, said. “As a result, they fall under the category of a ‘smoking product,’ which are allowed in designated areas only.”
The policy and municipal ordinances apply equally to all college faculty, staff, students, administration and visitors.
“Everyone is expected to dispose of their cigarettes properly,” Jenkins said. “Individuals violating the smoking policy and/or the municipal ordinances… may receive a Kilgore College and/or municipal citation and fine.”
According to Jenkins, there have recently been a few reports of students using their eCigs in classrooms and buildings on campus.
“When [the students were] asked to move to a designated smoking area, there was a little bit of resistance,” Jenkins said. “Clarifying our policy will reduce confusion.”
Jenkins added that even though they may be marketed as “safe,” he finds it interesting that according to www.electroniccigaretteban.org, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Dubai, Hong Kong, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey have all banned eCigs.
Jenkins added that student focus groups played a large part in developing the policy KC has in place along with solicited input from KC faculty and staff.
“My personal feelings, which I feel are echoed by most of the administration, are that this is not a cigarette versus eCig issue. It’s an issue of health and wellness. They are highly addictive and potentially hazardous to one’s health,” Jenkins said. “As an educational institution, it is our responsibility to educate and inform.”