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With its forward-thinking policy regarding vaping, Duke University is again proving to be progressive leaders-in-the-making.

The prestigious private university in Durham, N.C., last spring banned cigarette smoking on campus beginning in 2020. E-cigarettes and other vaping devices, however, were (astutely? purposefully?) left off the new policy for a variety of reasons, according to dukechronicle.com.

“The use of e-cigarettes by younger, non-smoking individuals is a developing trend nationally,” said Kushal Kadakia, a senior who serves as student liaison for the Duke Smoking Cessation Program. “The current initiative was developed after extensive conversations with community members and university leadership as well as based on current research regarding combustible tobacco and e-cigarettes, which the medical literature shows may be used by some smokers as a part of quit attempts.”

Dukechronical.com reported the popularity of JUUL devices on campus, “from parties to libraries to restrooms, e-cigarettes are prevalent on campus.”

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declaring a policy war on the vaping industry’s alleged passive attempts to keep their products away from minors, other universities would use Duke’s new policy as a blueprint. Dukechronical.com pointed to the University of Mississippi banning JUUL in 2013 but generally has failed to enforce the ban.

Jed Rose, a leader at Duke’s Center for Smoking Cessation, supports the new progressive policy, explaining his research via a public essay, but also suggested vaping “should not be viewed as risk-free.”

“After all, users may remain addicted to nicotine even though they eliminate their exposure to carcinogens,” he wrote. “It’s analogous to switching heroin addicts to methadone—the user may remain addicted, but to a less dangerous compound.”

A senior, Kadakia was a former executive vice president of Duke Student Government. Kadakia believes vaping retains the potential for helping smokers quit

The Smoking Cessation Program will continue to study short- and long-term effects of vaping.

No doubt, their future decisions also will be astute and purposeful.

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