On Tuesday, January 31, the Stout Student Association (SSA) voted to include the use of e-cigarette products in Univeristy of Wisconsin–Stout’s official tobacco policy. According to the official SSA document which states the motion, the purpose of the Tobacco Free Policy is to limit use of tobacco products on campus in order to contribute to a safe and healthy environment for UW–Stout students.
According to Stout’s website, the ban came about from two student referendums held by the SSA in April of 2009. In April of 2010, students voted to extend the ban to all tobacco use across campus. Stout’s previous chancellor, Chancellor Charles W. Sorenson, decided that the ban would go into effect as of September 1, 2010. This was a large movement for Stout, as the ban makes us one of 400 universities in the United States to be a tobacco or smoke-free campus.
The SSA also noted in their official movement that including e-cigarettes in the tobacco ban would be another step to begin contributing to a safer and healthier environment for students. Even though they are supposedly safer than regular smoking/chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and vapor that may be harmful, according to the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Surgeon General.
With e-cigarettes being included in the policy, there comes conflicting student views along with it. While the majority of the campus voted to ban tobacco products on campus, it doesn’t mean that the ban is properly enforced.
“It’s stupid because vaping is just vapor, and literally all it does is make someone’s room smell good,” said Hayden Hestad, a sophomore in the Game Design and Development Computer Science program. Another sophomore, coincidentally also in the GDD-CS program, Bryce Parr, disagrees with the new rule as well.
“Well, I’m probably going to continue vaping anyways. Sure you can ban cigarettes because they stink and are terrible for you, but why vaping?” Bryce went on to explain the studies he has seen that show minimal effect on first or secondhand health. “I think the people who banned it only did so because of the ‘annoying’ clouds,” Bryce stated.
Though students will never reach complete agreement on the details of the tobacco policy here at Stout, there is no reason to believe it will be going away anytime soon.