AUSTIN — Texas A&M University officials decided to ban e-cigarettes from all campuses because of the health risks associated with smoking them.
Chancellor John Sharp announced in a memo that the ban will go in effect "as soon as possible" on all A&M system campuses across the state, including the flagship university in College Station. The ban is applicable to students, faculty and staff at 11 universities and across eight state agencies.
"This health threat is serious enough that I want to see the ban include every building, outside space, parking lot, garage and laboratory within the Texas A&M System," Sharp said in the memo.
Hundreds of serious lung injuries have been found nationwide. On the same day Sharp made his announcement, the Centers for Disease Control reported 1,080 confirmed and probable cases in 48 states and one U.S. territory, including 18 deaths in 15 states.
U.S. health officials said last week the outbreak of severe vaping-related illnesses is increasingly focused on products that contain the marijuana compound THC.
Sharp noted smoking is prohibited in most areas of the A&M system.
"But the ban on vaping is to be mandatory and expanded to every inch of the Texas A&M System," he said.
The university joins the University of Texas System, which banned vaping and tobacco products across its 14 institutions in 2017.
Juul, the nation's largest e-cigarette maker, stopped advertising its e-cigarettes in the U.S. and replaced its CEO. E-cigarettes have been largely unregulated since arriving in the country in 2007. But the Food and Drug Administration has set next May as a deadline for manufacturers to submit their products for review.
"I do not want to take any unnecessary chances with the health of our students, faculty and staff," Sharp said.