To be honest, we weren’t particularly wowed by the most recent UCA Board of Trustee meeting agenda. The most important item seemed to be another increase of fees and various rates on campus, but as we all know, fees and rates are increasing everywhere all of the time, so while it is important to note, it’s not exactly earth-shattering news.
Another item amused us enough to at least bring attention to it: the possible banning of e-cigarettes and “vaping” on campus. Usually, a potential problem might have to reach epidemic levels before being considered ban-able, but in this case, UCA thought enough of it to give it the once over. So we let people know this was a possibility.
And then the major media took over.
One television station in Little Rock jumped on the story, and on the day of the meeting, multiple media outlets were on the scene. An assumption that they were there for the fee increases would be wrong.
Apparently the e-cigarette fad is no longer just a fad. It is a full-blown lifestyle. The lure of these devices is that they do not contain tobacco. Instead, there’s a mechanism that heats up liquid nicotine, which turns into a vapor that smokers inhale and exhale.
Because they contain no tobacco, e-cigarettes aren’t subject to U.S. tobacco laws. So while UCA cannot treat e-cigarettes like they would tobacco products, there are those who are worried that the unknowns of direct or secondhand nicotine vapors are enough to recommend that they be stricken from campus.
The board agreed and banned the substance. It seems fair enough, if for the simple fact that e-cigarettes, like real cigarettes, do create an environment that can affect those in close proximity to the user. Although they may not be blowing smoke in your face, what they are blowing may be hazardous to your health.
So while the act of “vaping” may be helping those who are trying to get away from traditional tobacco and the health concerns they pose, the questions are enough to keep this new smoking sensation away from campus.
We just didn’t realize it was that big of a deal.