The UCD Health Promotion Committee is set to formulate a policy on e-cigarettes at its next meeting, the University Observer has learned. The Committee, which consists of UCD staff and faculty members, were behind the Smoke-Free Campus initiative that is currently being rolled out across campus. Having been given the support of UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) following a referendum held last October, the first steps of the policy included a ban on the sale of cigarettes in all SU shops on campus. It is expected that steps will be taken to extend non-smoking areas to cover the majority of campus over the coming year, though many have raised doubts about the feasibility of the scheme.
The Health Promotion Committee does have not a policy on e-cigarettes at the present moment. Dominic O’Keefe, Director of Student Services and Facilities has said that “It will be raised at the next meeting”. According to O’Keefe, it is unlikely that the Health Promotion Committee will endorse the use of e-cigarettes as a substitute for conventional cigarettes. “On speaking to the Director of the Student Medical Centre her opinion and recommendation is that the committee will not endorse this form of smoking as the long term health implications have as of yet not been established”, O’Keefe stated in discussion with the University Observer.
He went on to add that “The risks associated with these devices have to date not been clarified. It is way to make smoking more socially acceptable and anything that is detrimental to a student’s health is unacceptable.” It is not yet known if the Committee will take a negative stance in relation to e-cigarettes as well as choosing to not endorse their use.
In spite of the absence of an official stance by the Health Promotion Committee, one e-cigarette company has been using the Smoke-Free Campus initiative to promote their product on campus. Nyx Electronic Cigarettes, a Dublin-based e-cigarette manufacturer, have been advertising to students with the slogan “Proudly Supporting a Smoke-Free UCD!” The company is also the title sponsor of Belfield FM, and has been targeting UCD students through social media advertising.
Speaking to the University Observer, Aaron Sheehan, a representative of the company has said “We have decided to come into UCD and onto other campuses around Dublin and Ireland because we see an opportunity in the market for electronic cigarettes, especially in UCD with the Smoke-Free Campus initiative coming in.” Regarding the discussion of e-cigarettes by the Health Promotion Committee, Sheehan added that “Our cigarettes have no tobacco and are pretty much just water vapour, so we don’t see a problem. We’re supporting a smoke-free UCD.”