University tapers the vapor
Auburn's smoke-free campus was initiated Aug. 21, 2013, but a recent reminder about electronic cigarettes being included in the ban has some students and business owners up in arms.
"I see where they're coming from because it shows the exact nature of what a cigarette is," said Nick Sherwood, managing partner at Vapor Craft. "I think with [electronic cigarettes] being banned, I believe that it removes people's chances of showing individuality. Who is anybody to say they can't do small things here or there. It's not illegal, but we're banning something that we haven't proven to be bad, and, yes it hasn't been proven to be good, but why not do the research?"
Although the use of electronic cigarettes has not been proven to be bad, the University included them in the ban because of the unknown factor. cigarettes under the policy because the harmful effects on others are not well known or studied, and because it will make it more difficult to enforce a smoke-free campus.
"The primary and driving force in the decision was the health concerns of the Auburn Family," it said.
Ryan Huddleston, senior in communication, said he originally started using electronic cigarettes because he thought they were not included in the University ban.
"[The University] has kind of turned this into smokers being pariahs and outcasts for us to run off into our little corners to go smoke," Huddleston said. "I think they just don't want the look of smoking around campus."
Sherwood has been smoking electronic cigarettes since April 2013, when he had his last cigarette.
"The biggest difference between a cigarette and an electronic cigarette is in a cigarette you absorb nicotine in your lungs," Sherwood said. "In an electronic cigarette, the nicotine is bonded to the water molecules in your mouth. Much like taking a liquid cap to taking a basic aspirin."
Although research is still being done to discover negative affects electronic cigarettes can have on a user and by-stander, Huddleston said he can breathe better since smoking less cigarettes and more electronic cigarettes.
"My overall nicotine craving is basically gone, so I'm not buying a pack a day," Huddleston said. "The initial adjustment is a little much to get started with an e-cig, but they end up paying for themselves over time compared to buying cigarettes every day."
Along with the popularity of electronic cigarettes rising, the use of marijuana in electronic cigarettes is also rising.
"[Vapor Craft] doesn't promote it," Sherwood said. "With anything that's electronic, there's always someone looking for things they shouldn't do. With laws being passed in Colorado and Washington and passing in majorly large states, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a nationwide thing. However, it's not going to stop employers from denying people who smoke."
An Auburn graduate, who would like to remain anonymous, said he has used an electronic cigarette to smoke marijuana in public two times.
"It's vaporized so there's no smoke and it's not as harsh for your lungs," the Auburn graduate said. "It's smoother and more mellow. The high you get is more of a body high instead of just a head high."
The source said students should avoid smoking marijuana through an electronic cigarette on campus because it is illegal.
"Students given the chance will still probably drink a beer on campus," Auburn graduate said. "I don't think it will be the next thing on campus, but for those of you who want to and have a way, it's just another way to recreationally enjoy it and go under radar."
Although electronic cigarettes are not allowed on campus, Sherwood said if anyone has any questions regarding electronic cigarettes to stop by Vapor Craft on North College Street anytime.
"The educational process of this is not only positive, it's also good to know," Sherwood said. "With kids and adults around it, they know not to fear it because every study so far has not proven any negative second-hand smoke affect."