Update, Jan. 16, 2013: Well, we're gonna have to add a “Just Kidding!” to this blog post now. Shortly after UCI announced that they would allow e-cigs and chewing tobacco on campus, the statement was retracted. UCI now joins all of the other California Universities in having a completely smoke, tobacco, and nicotine free campus. Ah man, UCI, we were really proud of you for going against the grain. The school has not commented, however, on why they changed their mind.
Original Post, Jan. 3, 2013: January 1 marked the University of California school system's kickoff of smoke-free campuses. From Santa Barbara to Berkley, students are no longer allowed to light-up on campus, in parking lots, and even in their cars. But what about e-cigarettes or chewing tobacco? Those nicotine-delivering products aren't allowed either! (Just kidding about chewing tobacco; nobody does that anymore). However, UC Irvine has decided to take a less totalitarian approach, and is the only campus to allow e-cigs.
While UCI is still banning regular ol' cigarettes, the Smoke-Free Task Force decided that e-cigs, chewing tobacco, and snuff (the less-gross version of chew) are A-OK. Of course, it's not because UCI wants to take a relaxed stance on smoking; the university hopes it will promote cessation instead of aggravating smoker-students so much that they need to have three cigarettes once they leave campus. If there's anything we learned from Prohibition…
In an article on UCI's website, professor David Timberlake explains that this stance came about because these “so-called 'harm-reduction products'” aren't fully understood. While chewing tobacco is well-known for producing horrid photos of people missing half their jaw, doctors, consumers, and the government have yet to agree about the effects of e-cigarettes. One thing's for sure: blueberry-waffle vapor smells a helluva lot better than smoke, and chewing tobacco isn't disturbing unless you have to see the aftermath.
If you'd like to know more about e-cigarettes, read some of our past articles.