University policy to now include e-cigarettes

University President Dr. Patrick Oâ??Brien issued a change to the Supplements System Policy to include e-cigarettes in buildings on campus.

If it applies to one, it applies to all. West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) recently submitted change to a current policy that prohibits students from smoking inside to now include electronic cigarettes.

Experts have estimated electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes a nearly $1.7 billion industry in 2013. The newest e-cigarette shop, Anywhere E-Cig, in Canyon opened just before the university submitted changes to its policy.

Colten Cowart's parents own the shop. He's also a student at WTAMU who doesn't agree with the ban.

"I don't see any reason for them doing this," Cowart said. "And I think it's kind of dumb."

Drexel University School of Public Health reviewed more than 9,000 cases of e-cigarette usage. Its recent study analyzed the vapors and liquids used in the devices, and concluded the health risks were too low to be of concern.

But for WTAMU officials it's more of a distraction, than it is a health concern.

"E-cigs to my knowledge put off a scent," Student Body President Leif Thomas said. "The ban is meant to keep things as fair as possible for students, and to be honest it's not that big of a change."

Students are only allowed to use e-cigarettes outside, and 50 feet from any door.

Knippers said the issue hasn't been addressed in senate meetings, and therefore he doesn't see it becoming one. However, Cowart said for a group of students on campus -- it is.

"I've heard some petitions are going around," Cowart said.

Knippers said students are allowed to attend senate meetings every Monday at 4:30 p.m. He said if the students can defend their case and receive support from senators, the issue can be taken to university officials.