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Wisconsin colleges dealing with e-cigarettes

  • Associated Press
  • October 17, 2013 - 10:15 PM

MADISON, Wis. — College campuses across Wisconsin are grappling with electronic cigarettes, a relatively new product that more young people are trying and using.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout banned tobacco in 2010, but not e-cigarettes.

"Even if we had decided to pursue something, it would be held in abeyance until students had their say in April," UW-Stout communications director Doug Mell told Wisconsin Public Radio (http://bit.ly/16ejhE5 ). "We're pretty much in limbo on this issue right now."

Mell also chairs a campus committee on tobacco-free policies.

E-cigarettes are banned at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The school declared the campus tobacco-free in July.

The decision to ban e-cigarettes was influenced in part by a lack of data on the long-term health effects of inhaling nicotine vapor from the battery-powered device, said Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor.

"We really don't know what's in the vapor," Fry said. "There's a lot of disagreement as to what's contained in there."

Fry said the ban was also based on e-cigarettes being misleadingly marketed as "a cessation tool" for smokers, and that students were using them for smoking marijuana.

Students initiated the smoking bans at both universities.

In Wisconsin, 16 colleges and universities have smoke-free policies, both indoors and out, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.

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