Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland recently considered whether use of electronic cigarettes in its classrooms was to be banned. Ultimately, the university decided to leave the decision in the hands of each professor for his or her own preference. So professors felt that electronic cigarette use was fine while others felt it qualified as disruptive behavior.
The local independent student newspaper there, The Bottom Line, surveyed 40 students for their thoughts on electronic cigarettes. Only 30 percent of the students that responded thought that e-cig use should be banned under the school’s smoke-free campus policy (in place since 2011). Meanwhile, 70 percent felt use in the class room would be disruptive.
A question of disruptiveness does seems more relevant than a question of health and smoke policy — as e-cigs are rapidly proving devoid of smoke or secondhand harm. The question of disruptiveness, however, is similar to the dawn of handheld videogames, then of cell phones, then of smart phones, and even of slap bracelets and flashy public murals.
It seems likely that an e-cig user that was fired (sorta) for vaping in the store while on the job in a baby products retail store might not be unemployed if she considered the impact her vaping might have at the particular moment she did it.
Speaking as someone that had enough trouble concentrating in classes without other people helping out, e-cig use might better be done outside the classroom. However, it is nice to see a university leave the ultimate decision up to individual professors rather than forcing their hands in a matter that might not be an issue for a particular class.