Vaping is prohibited, but don’t expect a “tobacco violation”

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A man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine. The U.S. government has refined how it is measuring an outbreak of breathing illnesses in people who vape, now counting only cases that are most closely linked to electronic cigarette use. As of Sept. 12 health officials said 380 confirmed cases and probable cases have been reported in 36 states and one U.S. territory. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

TCU’s tobacco policy prohibits vaping, but students won’t face a tobacco violation if they are caught with an e-cigarette.

Instead, they have to have an informal conversation with Campus Life, said Michael Russel, dean of campus life and associate vice chancellor for student affairs.

Some students said they thought being caught with an e-cigarette would result in a tobacco violation, which is equivalent to an alcohol violation.

A TCU student who asked to remain anonymous because she wasn’t authorized to speak for her sorority, said she thought TCU police officers who came to her sorority chapter meeting said Juuls are prohibited at formals.

“I mean, it makes sense because like it has to fall in line with the other things that are prohibited on campus,” she said. “But like if I knew someone who got a Juul violation, I would be like pretty surprised.”

TCU police officers said while students aren’t supposed to bring e-cigarettes to events, they never warned that it would be a tobacco violation.

The student said the risk management officer and events chair of her sorority also told members a tobacco violation was the consequence for bringing a Juul.

TCU’s prohibition of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes will support a change in Texas law that lifted the age requirement for purchase to 21.

“The decision was, when do you pull off the Band-Aid?” Russel said. “Do we wait until next year when we know for sure most of the first-year students would not be legal to possess it, or do we start now when we know there will be some who do, so we just decided to start now with the some who do.”

Chancellor Victor Boschini said he has never heard of a tobacco violation being a consequence of having an e-cigarette.

Russel said he will escalate punishment for e-cigarette usage if students continue to break the rule after their informal conversation with Campus Life.

“Right now, we continue for it to be a discussion to say that you’re not supposed to be using them on campus, and that has worked effectively because we have been several years tobacco-free and most people have been compliant with it,” Russel said.