RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new university policy is making the VCU campus smoke-free. The university approved a ban on the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, on university-owned property.
The new rule, which went into effect Monday, was implemented on the same day as a new state law that raises the legal age to buy nicotine products to 21.
Andrew Hutchings, a store manager at Kulture Smoke and Vape in Richmond, said Juul e-cigarettes are the top seller at the store near VCU’s campus.
Hutchings said e-cigarettes are very popular among young adults.
“Nicotine is a stress reliever, so I can understand why they want to use this product. I think part of it is fad, part of it is they want some type of stress relief,” Hutchings said.
Some VCU students said the smoke-free policy is a positive change, but they are skeptical.
“I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t know if it’s realistic,” said rising VCU senior Rania Haninou.
“I see students doing it in the library all the time, and the classrooms, just hiding it. So they’re going to have to be looking out for it,” said Ash Tabrizi, also a rising VCU senior.
Hutchings said the campus smoking ban and the new state law combined will affect their vape shop.
“I think overall it’s definitely going to change our business a little bit,” he said.
VCU said the purpose of the smoking ban is to spread education about the dangers of smoking, but failure to follow the policy for students or employees could end in disciplinary action.
“I think this is a good thing for the students to get them to quit smoking, or at least help try to get them to stop smoking,” Tabrizi said.