Vaping e-cigarettes in buildings on campus is no longer allowed.
Signs posted on entrance doors of the buildings describe the college’s new policy.
The Board of Health recognized that exposure to secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis and heart disease. Due to the health hazards posed by secondhand smoke, the Board of Health adopted regulations in order to protect the health and welfare of all citizens.
A similar statement, traditionally applied to tobacco cigarettes, is now used to regulate e-cigarette use.
Smoking and vaping are prohibited inside buildings and at least 25 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed area.
Before the new policy, Maureen Rickertsen, campus safety sergeant-supervisor, received complaints, questions and at least 10 calls per week about e-cigarette use from staff and students.
The new regulation is permanent and e-cigarette users should expect to vape in the designated smoking shelters on campus.
The Board of Health Department officials also can issue a written warning to anyone violating the regulation. The person is subject to a civil penalty of up to $100 and a re-inspection fee of the building.
Before the implementation of the new regulation, some users were vaping during classes and a theater performance.
Since the signs were posted, fewer students and college employees have complainted to campus safety staff members, Rickertsen said.
“I have received no complaints from e-cigarette users. Even before I put up the signs and would go talk to the students about it not being allowed, I always was treated with respect and understanding,” Rickertsen said. “I’ve had no one who wanted to argue the point after I explained that it was a Pierce County Health Department regulation.”
While debate about the effects of second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes will continue, this new policy will stand at the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses.
“As a smoker myself, I use the designated areas and I am all for those who use the e-cigarettes to quit their (smoking) habit,” Rickertsen said, “I give them a lot of credit for taking that extra step to quit.”
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