Allow vaping in student accommodation

Kaitlin Shaw argus that "students should  absolutely be allowed to vape inside  university halls."

Photo: Wikipedia

Smoking; some hate it, while for others it’s a daily ritual. If you walk past the library, the Union or along any  main street at any given time, you’re  likely to see a gaggle of students having a cigarette in between lectures, revision or drinking with friends.  While a normal sight, the dangers of smoking are undoubtable and  shouldn’t be encouraged – with the  chance of developing many health issues, it certainly is a habit to be kicked.  As someone who is personally trying to quit after four years of smoking, a  viable alternative was introduced to  me – vaping.  Involving the use of flavoured liquids (complete with or without added  nicotine), studies have shown it to be  much less harmful and a good meth- od for making a healthy switch.  However, a question comes to mind  when contemplating this issue –  should students be allowed to vape  inside university halls, or should they  be made to leave the premises like  smokers?  For me, I think students should  absolutely be allowed to vape inside  university halls.


While vaping in lectures, tutorials or the library would be  absurd due to the chance of distracting others and creating a disruptive  learning environment, in the comfort  of personal uni rooms I believe we  should be allowed to indulge in a  healthier habit – for many, vaping and  the consumption of nicotine is a stress  relief, and as such would be useful  during times of heavy work-load.  For me, I certainly would have found it useful in the last exam season  and far easier than trekking outside in  the freezing cold only to stand there  for five minutes.  Additionally, vaping around others isn’t as harmful as smoking –  while second hand smoking can be seriously dangerous (and would be  unacceptable within university halls,  shared or not), vaping is shaping  up in studies to be significantly less  harmful.  With halls being an extremely social environment, the use of vapes  wouldn’t pose a threat to other students and would still encourage a  friendly atmosphere.


Importantly (unlike cigarettes) the  use of vapes would not damage university rooms. While smoking a cigarette in university rooms would pose  a fire hazard, leave a lingering smell  for weeks, dispel ash onto furniture  and pose the risk of burning/staining  carpets or curtains, vaping produces  no messy or toxic by- product.  In being completely electronic, the  smoke produced by vapes is neither  toxic or damaging and would not  damage university-owned furniture.  Importantly, vapes are built in  order to prevent fi res from occur- ring and the safety measures in place  would make the chance of damage  occurring to university halls extreme- ly unlikely – like any other electronic  device that can be tested, they simply  have to be charged and used without  any need for lighters.  Moreover, allowing the use of va- pes in university halls would consequently allow students to save money.  As a student who does smoke,  I spend  £10-20 a week on tobacco –  when also buying food, textbooks  and going for drinks with friends,  it certainly adds up and sometimes  causes me extra financial stress.  When vaping (minus the cost of  investing in a vape), I spend significantly less and am able to use my  money more freely – however, due  to vaping in halls being prohibited,  during first year I tended to stick to  smoking out of convenience.  If students were encouraged to  swap from smoking to vaping and  allowed to do so in university halls,  I’m sure many students would be  surprised at how much money they  would save.

In tangent to this, the swap to a  more cost-effective and safer method  of ‘smoking’ would also fix the cigarette-butt -eyesore of St Andrews;  particularly evident after Friday  nights, it is impossible to walk any- where between lectures and not see  cigarette ends either on the streets.  If vaping were allowed and thus  students were given a motivation to  make the swap, the number of cigarette butt s and/or papers left behind  by students for cleaners to discard of  would certainly be reduced.  Not only would this make for a  cleaner environment, but it would  maintain St Andrews’ picturesque  settings.  In closing, I believe a debate  around this issue is important.  Whatever your view or preference  on the topic, just discussing the pros/ cons of vaping within uni halls raises  an important discussion regarding  student decision-making and health.  For me, I believe the use of vapes  within university halls could be positive – not only does it subtly dodge  the horrible situation in which some  students attempt to smoke cigarettes in their room and (rightfully)  get caught and punished, but it is a  much healthier and cleaner habit to  engage with.  I know I would rather a student  vape in their personal quarters as opposed to going outside for a cigarette.


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