Oklahoma State University seeks ban on electronic cigarettes for all campuses

TULSA - Oklahoma State University is seeking a ban on electronic cigarettes.

On Friday, the university will ask the school's board of regents to ban electronic cigarettes on campus.

"OSU is proposing to update its tobacco-use policy due to the unknown impact of secondhand vapor from e-cigarettes. The change follows the recommendation of the Oklahoma State Department of Health and is consistent with Oklahoma State University's ongoing efforts to be a healthier campus," said Gary Shutt, an OSU spokesman.

RELATED: Doctors caution users of e-cigarettes (http://bit.ly/132YEDT)

The policy would not only ban e-cigarettes, but also hookahs, vapor cigarettes and clove cigarettes, according to Shutt.

If approved, the ban would also apply to OSU-Tulsa and the OSU Center for Health Sciences.

2NEWS obtained a letter sent to OSU president Burns Hargis from Oklahoma's health and human services secretary, Terry Cline.

In the letter, Cline said, "Because of the increasing use of e-cigarettes in public spaces, coupled with insufficient research on their safety, a cautious approach is warranted."

Cline continued saying, "Research on e-cigarettes is new and and evolving, and it may be some time before we know the total health effects on these products to users and those exposed to secondhand vapor."

Several other organizations, including restaurants, have banned e-cigarettes.

Several states have asked the FDA to begin regulating e-cigarettes.

An FDA spokesperson sent 2NEWS the following statement concerning the issue:

"Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products that turn nicotine, which is highly addictive, and/or other chemicals into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. The FDA regulates electronic cigarettes that are marketed for therapeutic purposes as drugs or devices. The FDA intends to propose a regulation that would extend the agency's "tobacco product" authorities -- which currently only apply to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco -- to other categories of tobacco products that meet the statutory definition of "tobacco product." Further research is needed to assess the potential public health benefits and risks of electronic cigarettes and other novel tobacco products." 

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