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Texas A&M University System To Ban Vaping Across All Its Campuses

Texas A&M University is banning vaping on campus. Smoking is already banned on most of the school's property.
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune
Texas A&M University is banning vaping on campus. Smoking is already banned on most of the school's property.

A ban on vaping will soon extend to "every inch" of the Texas A&M University System, according to a Tuesday memorandum from Chancellor John Sharp that cites recent revelations about how electronic cigarette use or vaping can lead to lung illnesses.

"I do not want to take any unnecessary chances with the health of our students, faculty and staff," wrote Sharp, in a memo sent to the heads of the system's 11 universities and eight state agencies. "This health threat is serious enough that I want to see the ban include every building, outside space, parking lot, garage and laboratory within the Texas A&M System," as well as research facilities and other properties.

Sharp said the ban should be instituted "as soon as is practical" and that it would be "appropriate and responsible to stop selling any e-cigarette products or vaping paraphernalia, if there are any points of sale at any place within our vast system."

Smoking is already banned on most parts of A&M's properties but this policy would be more stringent.

Sharp gave credit to A&M President Michael Young for being the inspiration for the ban.

An A&M System spokesperson, Tim Eaton, said he thought both Young and Sharp "had serious concerns and wanted to address them in a real and appropriate way." The system appears to be on the cutting edge of institutions taking such an aggressive stance on the issue, he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities are investigating an outbreak of lung problems linked to vaping. So far, the centers have reported that 805 people across the country have lung injuries tied to e-cigarette use, and a dozen have died. Authorities have urged people to refrain from using the products while the outbreak is being investigated, and recommended that pregnant women and youths abstain in general.


From The Texas Tribune

Disclosure: The Texas A&M University System has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Copyright 2019 KUT 90.5

Shannon Najmabadi is the higher education reporter at the Tribune, where she started as a fellow in 2017. She previously reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education, where she covered the gender equity law Title IX, fallout from an executive order on immigration, and a federal loan forgiveness program with an uncertain future. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.