OSU wouldn't be the first university to ban the devices on campus. According to the University of Central Oklahoma's 2013-14 Code of Student Conduct, both tobacco and “simulated tobacco products that imitate or mimic tobacco products,” including e-cigarettes, are banned on campus.
The University of Oklahoma's campus tobacco policy bans cigarettes anywhere on campus but allows e-cigarettes outdoors.
Ohio State University plans to ban e-cigarettes as a part of its new tobacco-free policy, which goes into effect in January. Officials at the University of Iowa are considering a similar ban.
Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order banning the use of tobacco products on state property, including college campuses.
While that order doesn't cover e-cigarettes, several agencies also banned their use on state property when they implemented the policy, said Steve Mullins, Fallin's general counsel.
Although the devices are widely seen as a safer alternative to cigarettes, Ted Wagener, a researcher at the OU Health Sciences Center, said little research has been done on the health effects of e-cigarette vapor.
E-cigarette vapor is less toxic than secondhand smoke, Wagener said, but it does contain carcinogens.
Vapor also exposes the user to levels of nicotine that are comparable to those in cigarette smoke, he said.
“It's not safe,” he said. “But it's safer than regular cigarette smoke.”
The regents meet at 10 a.m. Friday in room 412 in OSU's Student Union in Stillwater.