KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) As the conversation continues around the use e-cigarettes and vaping, Texas A&M system is in full swing implementing a ban across its universities.
The mandatory ban was officially implemented Tuesday at Texas A&M-Central Texas. It means that e-cigarettes and vaping are not allowed anywhere on campus – including buildings and parking lots.
“Essentially when the chancellor issued the memo, his motivation as we understand it, was to do the right thing by the student and not take any chance with student health,” spokesperson Karen Clos said.
Clos says the university does not expect there to be a problem.
“We don’t expect our students, or for that matter our employees, to create a problem. Most of the folks, the culture is it is not acceptable, they just don’t do it,” she said.
What if someone decides to vape on campus?
“Although the ban is in place in compliance with the system expectations, the set of rules on how they might be enforced is not in place yet,” Clos said. “At this point, if someone is vaping, we would simply say, ‘I’m sorry, there has been a ban on campus, we’re asking you not to do that.’”
The exact consequences for a student or faculty member being caught are still being discussed.
But what could be a possible consequence? In Austin, the University of Texas has banned e-cigarettes and vape pens since 2014.
If a student or faculty member is caught, they could be turned over to a dean or department chair.
Across the Texas A&M university system, Chancellor John Sharp addressed the need to be proactive in a memo earlier this month.
“I do not want to take any unnecessary chances with the health of our students, faculty and staff,” Sharp said the memo.
Katie Sanders, an assistant professor and director of the nursing program, recommends to avoid the use of e-cigarettes.
“The safest thing for them would be to avoid it if all possible and to seek medical advice if it is something that they have started doing or considering doing,” Sanders said.
It’s a move drawing a lot of smoke from both sides.
Just this week, more vape-related deaths were reported. The CDC has confirmed more than a dozen deaths related to vaping in multiple states.
“We just don’t know the full implications of the dangers they may pose, either to the user or to those who may be exposed to it through second hand smoke,” Sanders added.