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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC's e-cigarette policy to be determined

Kendrick Hales, freshman and undecided major from Chicago, smokes an e-cigarette outside of Rams Village. "E-cigs save you a lot of money and they taste better so they don't give you the harshness of smoking real cigarettes. Real ones burn in your throat." Hales was smoking a cotton candy flavored e-cigarette.
Kendrick Hales, freshman and undecided major from Chicago, smokes an e-cigarette outside of Rams Village. "E-cigs save you a lot of money and they taste better so they don't give you the harshness of smoking real cigarettes. Real ones burn in your throat." Hales was smoking a cotton candy flavored e-cigarette.

E-cigarettes are a battery-powered alternative for smokers that contain varying amounts of nicotine, aerosol and flavorings.

The smoking policy at UNC states that smoking is not allowed inside or within 100 feet of any University facility, inside state-owned vehicles and within 50 feet of Kenan Woods.

And at the moment, e-cigarettes offer a loophole.

“While the UNC no-smoking policy doesn’t specifically mention electronic cigarettes, we consider them inconsistent with the goals of our policy, and when asked, we discourage their use in our no-smoking areas,” said Mary Beth Koza , director of UNC’s Department of Environment, Health and Safety.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, more and more young people are picking up the electronic alternative. The University is in the process of making a decision on how to regulate these devices.

“Building managers separately have the ability to put in place reasonable rules related to those buildings or facilities. For example, Bubba Cunningham has said no (e-cigarettes) at sporting events,” she said.

Koza said other areas where e-cigarettes are discouraged include libraries, lab buildings, residence halls and instructional facilities.

Several UNC students reported using a combination of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. They said that e-cigarettes are beneficial because they neither include carcinogens and other toxic chemicals nor give off a strong smell.

“The downside is that you end up consuming a lot more nicotine than you intended, and this tends to fuel the addiction a bit more,” said senior Tyler Mofield.

“Some will transition to this to try to get off the addiction, but it’s similar to transitioning from drinking beer to drinking vodka,” she said.

Freshman Jerica Wilborn explained that e-cigarettes can help smokers get past the oral fixation that encourages nicotine addiction.

“A lot of people smoke due to feeling the need to do something with their hands and mouth,” said Wilborn.

“You can have an (e-cigarette) and do this without nicotine consumption.”

Wilborn also said that e-cigarettes have drawbacks.

“It’s not as satisfying as smoking an actual cigarette,” Wilborn said.

Wilborn and freshman Andrew HoTong have found that there are many misunderstandings of e-cigarette use on campus.

“Most people don’t realize it’s not real smoke,” said HoTong.

Wilborn said that she has garnered attention while smoking e-cigarettes on campus.

“People look at you with such a disapproving, ‘What are you doing with your life,’ type of look,” said Wilborn.

university@dailytarheel.com

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