Electronic cigarettes enjoy ambiguous classification.
By Paula Christine Schuler
and Katherine Garcia
Electronic cigarette users may attract the attention of campus police. That may come as a surprise to vapers, who do not equate vapors with smoke.
Human resources sophomore Mary Cole said she was not sure what the e-cigarette policy is, but she heard of a student stopped by police for “vaping” and given a warning. “I know somebody in my class that ‘vapes’ during class — an older woman — but, I don’t know if the professor sees her do it.”
Police Deputy Chief Joe Pabon said e-cigarettes emit smoke and this is a smoke-free campus.
Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs, said there is no specific policy on e-cigarettes, a nicotine-delivery system former smokers use.
The smoking policy in the student handbook does not specifically mention e-cigarettes in its electronic devices or smoking policies. “Irrespective of what you smoke, it is covered,” student conduct officer Manuel Flores said.
Student conduct officer Tracy Floyd said the policy is in the process of being updated, but that takes time. She said the devices are included under the district’s tobacco policy because they can present a disruption in the classroom.
Page 30 of the student handbook, only mentions “all electronic communication devices.” The smoking policy on Page 35 states, “All of the Alamo Colleges are designated smoke-free. Smoking and/or using tobacco products is prohibited in all classrooms, laboratories, offices, conference rooms, hallways, parking lots, and all other rooms in all buildings of the Alamo Colleges and on all property that is owned by the Alamo Colleges.”
Students may be confused.
“I understand their option to say no,” Cole said, noting the lack of butt litter that distinguishes vaping from tobacco smoking. “In reality, it’s not what they think it is. It’s not messy.”