The University of South Alabama plans to become a smoke-free campus beginning on August 1, according to college officials.
The ban received unanimous approval from the university’s Wellness Initiatives Committee, in addition to support from students and staff.
The policy extends beyond just cigarettes, however: it also includes smokeless tobacco (such as chews and dips) and electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs.
E-cigs are catching on across the United States. For adults, they have proven 60% more effective as a method for quitting smoking than nicotine gum and patches.
But it’s not only adults who are using e-cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that e-cigarettes have actually become more popular among teenagers than cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.
The statistics were published last week in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and found that 3.9% of middle schoolers and 13.4% of high school students have used e-cigs. That’s around 450,000 middle school students and about 2 million in high school.
The concerns surrounding e-cigs have to do with the nicotine content in the devices’ “e-liquid,” which is placed inside vapor cartridges and which produces the smokeless vapor. This substance is said to harm adolescents’ brain development and can lead to addiction even early in life.
So what about University of South Alabama Students looking to quit smoking?
The University offers a cessation option for students and staff, which includes counseling and other resources to help them go tobacco-free.
USA joins 1,000 other colleges and universities around the country that have adopted tobacco-free rules on campus. The University of Alabama, Auburn University and Troy University have also joined the movement.
For now, the enforcement of the new rule will be “soft-handed,” according to university administrators. They plan to patrol parking lots, academic buildings, dorms and other spaces on campus to ensure that students are complying with the rule.
Those who have parked their cars on campus, however, have one exception to the rule: they can smoke inside their vehicles only.