Winona State implements moratorium on hookahs, e-cigarettes - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Winona State implements moratorium on hookahs, e-cigarettes


WINONA, Minnesota (WXOW) -- Winona State University has been a tobacco free campus for four years.

But Dr. Karen Johnson, the school's Interim Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, said WSU is considering expanding its policies against tobacco-related products.

A moratorium is currently in effect on both hookahs -- large devices, usually full of water, that can be used to smoke tobacco -- as well as on electronic cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, as they are more commonly known, do not burn tobacco but still contain nicotine.

"My understanding is both devices have some iffy health effects," Johnson said.

Johnson said as students began to move into the school's residence halls for the new semester, which began Monday, both e-cigarettes and hookahs were spotted in the dorms.

"We're very cognizant that the residence halls are peoples' personal living spaces," she said.

Johnson said students who brought hookahs or e-cigarettes to the residence halls have been asked to take them off campus, whether that's to a private storage space or to their home.

Gina Scott, a non-smoking freshman who lives in one of the school's dormitories, said she believes the policy might be a bit overzealous.

"I understand they want you to walk off campus to (smoke)," she said. "But I don't understand why you cant even have one in your room at all."

Johnson said there's a simple explanation for the new policy.

"We want students to know what's healthy and make good choices," she said. "We know healthy students are better academically. We retain them better, they graduate at better rates."

Student Colette Henke, a junior in Winona State's nursing program, said she's all for the change.

Henke said, if you're going to be a tobacco free campus, "why not include it all?"

"It should be all or nothing," she said.

Johnson said a campus committee will come to a decision on making the moratorium permanent in "a few weeks."

"It won't take all semester, by any means," she said.

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