ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - CNM is joining a growing number of colleges going smoke-free except for designated outdoor areas, but the school is facing questions over the ban that began this fall.
Should electronic cigarettes be included too?
Electronic cigarettes are branded as a more natural alternative to regular cigarettes, but CNM officials say there is not enough evidence of that, so they're banning them, too.
Students don't have to walk far on campus to see sign after sign after sign: No smoking.
There is no question CNM has a new smoking policy and some smokers like the idea for the health of others and themselves.
“It helps me because I can’t go right outside my class and smoke. I have to go here, so it makes me smoke less in a way,” said Natig Baker.
But others are surprised to learn electronic cigarette smokers have to follow the same rules.
"Wow, that's a little ridiculous,” Shawna Tanner said.
Arthur Dubay, who says he uses e-cigarettes as a more natural alternative, said, "It is almost opening up a different problem for a whole new group of people."
E-cigarettes produce air vapors instead of smoke and some say it helps people quit smoking because they can choose the nicotine strength. It is also not supposed to have the same toxic chemicals regular cigarettes have.
"It honestly has done a lot for me,” Dubay said. “It's improved how I breathe. I've heard from a couple other people, too. My brother-in-law, for example, he noticed a significant drop in his blood pressure when he started using e-cigs over regular cigarettes.”
But now, Dubay says there is no point since he can only smoke them in confined areas right next to smokers with regular cigarettes.
Jennifer Cornish, executive director of multi-campus operations at CNM, said the school would rather play it safe.
She said they found no conclusive evidence to prove e-cigarettes are healthy.
“Our only choice to create the healthiest environment we could was to include both together since we cannot guarantee e-cigarettes are healthful,” Cornish said.
There have also been some student complaints about not having enough smoking areas and not having any shade in those locations.
CNM said it is still taking feedback from students about where the smoking spots are and it is looking into putting up canopies.
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