Originally published in the Spartan Daily March 18, 2010: Click here for link
Electronic cigarettes are an example of when technology has surpassed the rules and regulations, said Sgt. John Laws of University Police Department.
With electronic cigarettes becoming more familiar to people, Martin Lau, a graduate student in graphic design, said he was thinking about buying one.
“A pack of cigarettes is about $6 to $7,” he said. With those e-cigs, a carton is $20.”
Lau said the state may take action on the issue.
“If e-cigs prove to become a problem, (the state) will deal with it,” he said.
According to Section A of California Government Code Section 19994.35, “No tobacco product advertising shall be allowed in any state-owned and state-occupied building excepting advertising contained in a program, newspaper, magazine, or other written material lawfully sold, brought, or distributed within a state building.”
This means any advertisements for products containing tobacco or that are prepared with the leaves of plants of the nicotiana family are illegal within state buildings, according to section C of the same government code.
“I think in the long run you will not be able to smoke e-cigs indoors, because at one time people were able to smoke regular cigarettes indoors,” said senior business major Jansher Ashraf. “I think it’s just because e-cigs have not caught up with the law.”
In the state of California, each college and university is responsible for making its own rules and regulations, including the distance a cigarette can be smoked from a campus building, according to California Education Code, Section 89031.
Section 89031 states, “The trustees may establish rules and regulations for the government and maintenance of the buildings and grounds of the California State University. Every person who violates or attempts to violate the rules and regulations is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
At SJSU, Laws said the rule is a lit cigarette must be a minimum of 25 feet away from all campus buildings.
“We have not encountered any issues with students smoking too close to a building,” he said.
The penalty for smoking closer than 25 feet from a campus building is a citation of $ 1,000, and it is charged as a misdemeanor, Laws said.
“This is usually not our first response when dealing with this rare situation,” he said. “Usually we just give a warning.”
Lau said he is aware how it may bother some people to smoke too close to a building.
“I wouldn’t go next to a door and do it,” he said. “It’s rude.”
If e-cigs become popular and people use them often and become a problem, something will be done, Ashraf said.
“At some point, you will find somebody who has a problem with them and sure enough, a group of legislators will decide (a law) on e-cigs,” he said.