State Update

Higher Education Discusses E-Cigarettes

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As state legislatures around the country continue their focus on regulating tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, universities are also engaging in the discussion. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. E-cigarettes turn nicotine and other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. These products are often made to resemble cigarettes, cigars, and pipes; however, they may also look like everyday items, such as pens and USB memory sticks, for people who wish to use the product without others noticing.

The University of Iowa became a smoke-free campus after a 2008 state law prohibited smoking in public places. At the time, e-cigarettes—battery-powered devices not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—were not on the university’s radar. Now, university groups, including the Faculty Council, are discussing whether e-cigarettes should be included in the ban.

The Ohio State University is banning e-cigarettes as part of its tobacco-free policy, which launches in January 2014. The Ohio State University policy prohibits all tobacco products, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah-smoked products, pipes, oral tobacco and nasal tobacco, as well as any product “intended to mimic tobacco products, contain tobacco flavoring or deliver nicotine other than for the purpose of cessation,” according to the policy.

The federal government is also interested in e-cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarettes that are not marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently unregulated by the FDA. However, according to the FDA, the agency intends to issue proposed regulations for e-cigarettes.