University facing tobacco-free future
In August, the University will officially be a tobacco-free campus, pending LSU President F. King Alexander’s signature.
“Every SEC school except [University of] Alabama has a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy in place,” said Judith Sylvester, Smoke Free Committee co-chair and associate professor of mass communication.
Sylvester said the initiative was originally intended to create a cigarette-free campus, but Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “Well-Ahead” initiative influenced the decision to move forward with a tobacco free policy.
The policy creates designated “Wellspots” across the state. According to the Well-Ahead website, colleges and universities may qualify for three different Wellspot levels. To qualify as a Level Three Wellspot, the University must have a tobacco free policy and fit two other facets of the program’s criteria. These facets may include creating a breast-feeding-friendly workplace and maintaining vending machines with low-calorie snack options.
According to the website, tobacco-free constitutes prohibiting the use of cigarettes, cigars, any combustible tobacco product, smokeless tobacco, snus, dip, chew, orbs, any form of smoking object or device including electronic cigarettes and other forms.
Sylvester said there are health risks associated with electronic cigarettes which are not always highlighted to the public.
“There’s no standard for what has to be in those,” Sylvester said. “It’s a tobacco industry solution on how to keep people smoking.”
Cameron Kelly, general manager of Smokecignals on Perkins Road, said this is a “silly accusation.”
“If that were the case, they’d be mass produced already by the cigarette companies,” Kelly said.
Kelly said Smokecignals uses specific recipes and ratios of nicotine in their products based on customers’ smoking habits.
There are four chemicals in Smokecignals’ “e-juice”, Kelly said – nicotine, two forms of propylene glycol for flavoring and vegetable glycerine.
Kelly said propylene glycol is used in food preservatives, skin care products such as lotion and asthma inhalers, and vegetable glycerine is used in fog machines.
“Come in and talk to us,” Kelly said. “We’ll help direct you to the right information.”
Despite some dissenting student opinion, Sylvester said she believes being tobacco-free will eventually be accepted as the “social norm.”
“I like to compare it to our indoor policy,” Sylvester said. “It’s just accepted that you can’t smoke indoors and people don’t.”
Sylvester said she understands the process is not that simple, but steps will be taken to create an immediate change. For example, the Business Education Complex has already removed their tobacco-related waste receptacles, and there are plans to continue removing receptacles around campus.
The “social norm” idea will help members of the campus community police one another, Sylvester said.