By: KATE LUCE
College students are increasingly fueling their nicotine addictions with Juuls and other vaping devices. An August 2018 report by the 28th annual Indiana Youth Survey, published by IU Bloomington, stated that almost 30% of twelfth graders are using vaping devices. This percentage is a 45% increase from 2017.
Although it may be a common sight to see a cloud of vapor here at IU South Bend, there are several signs on campus stating that this is a “tobacco-free campus.” These signs have been instituted since 2012.
However, since then, the rise of e-cigarettes and vaping devices have been brought into a more mainstream environment, specifically to younger people.
“I probably see someone vaping at least once a day, but I really don’t mind it as long as it’s not inside or a really strong scent,” said Ariana Peak, sophomore.
According the IU-wide Tobacco Free Policy, tobacco products include “electronic cigarettes” and “any product intended to mimic tobacco products or the smoking of any other substance” as prohibited. Tobacco-users are allowed to smoke and vape on the sidewalks outside of campus. They are also permitted to use inside their cars, if they have their windows rolled up for the safety of others.
However, with the use of vape devices, tobacco is not involved in the process. Instead, a user breathes in nicotine and other chemicals. This leads to many vape-users to question the policies on vaping rather than tobacco on campus.
“The vaping policies kind of make me upset because I don’t see anything wrong with vaping on campus, especially when not everyone has nicotine in their juice,” said Sara Huff, sophomore.
A problem with the vaping policy is the lack of enforcement. Although these students are limited to permitted areas, not every vaper follows these rules. It is not unusual to see a someone walking to or from classes, taking a hit of his or her vape pen.
Specifically in housing, it is impossible to know who is vaping in their room. Vape pens, like the JUUL, can be mistaken for a flash drive. Smoke detectors are unable to detect the vapor and are unreliable with keeping the nicotine habit away from students. Behind closed doors, vaping can be nearly undetectable.
According to this policy, violators of the policy can be subject to administrative review and action as well as review by the office of student life. Citations and fines can also occur if the policy is violated.
The IU-wide Tobacco Free Policy has not been updated since Jan. 15, 2014.
If you are struggling with nicotine addiction or dependence, IU South Bend’s Student Counseling Center can offer help for those in need and provide further resources on quitting. Their services are free and confidential. The Student Counseling Center is located in the Administration Building, Room 175 A.