Since Arkansas enacted the university-wide smoking ban in July 2010, UCA has seen an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” by students on campus.
UCAPD Project Manager Arch Jones said any student 18 years of age or older can own and use electronic cigarettes on campus, according to university policy.
Most e-cigarettes are electronic devices that use heat to vaporize a cartridge of liquid. That liquid is then vaporized and inhaled by the person using the device. Most e-cigarette vapor contains nicotine, but some are only flavored.
While some studies are being conducted to suggest the vapor still poses health concerns, it is inconclusive at this time. Most studies agree that e-cigarettes are much safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes.
Senior Taylor Ward, 23, said he recently switched to using an e-cigarette to help relieve his chewing tobacco habit.
“I love my e-cigarette,” Ward said. “It has gotten me completely off of tobacco. It still has nicotine, but the longer I use it the less nicotine I get in the juice, so I’ll eventually be completely over my addiction to nicotine. It is a very valuable tool for anyone trying to quit using tobacco.”
UCA’s e-cigarette policy does not state whether the devices can be used inside campus buildings.
UCAPD Lieutenant Jaime Booth said that because the board of trustees has not viewed the use of e-cigarettes inside campus buildings to be a problem, it has not been administered into UCA’s policy.
Despite the vague policy regarding the use of e-cigarettes, UCA students have not been taking advantage of the situation.
Several students have been seen using e-cigarettes on campus, but all have been either on the outlying sidewalks of UCA or other various places on campus, away from large groups of people.
“As for campus use, [e-cigarettes] shouldn’t be regulated as much as cigarettes,” Ward said. “The main reasons cigarettes are banned are second-hand smoke and litter, both of which are eliminated with the use of e-cigarettes. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be regulated at all. Walking from class to class is fine, while doing it inside or in class is distracting and rude. I think e-cigarettes should be regulated to be useable outside, but not inside.”