COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M University System has banned vaping and e-cigarette use across the university system.
Chancellor John Sharp issued the ban in a memo to the university presidents and agency directors in the system Tuesday.
The ban covers all 11 campuses and eight state agencies within the Texas A&M University System and includes "every building, outside space, parking lot, garage and laboratory within the Texas A&M System" and "every facility of our $950 million research enterprise and all System properties in the 250 Texas counties in which the Texas A&M System has a presence."
"We, as a society, are facing a serious health risk that we are just beginning to understand."
Sharp cites the more than 800 cases of lung injury and the 12 deaths reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All the patients in these cases reported a history of e-cigarette use or vaping.
Smoking is already banned in most places within the system, but Sharp says the ban on vaping is "mandatory."
"Further I think it would be appropriate and responsible to stop selling any e-cigarette products or vaping paraphernalia, if there are any points of sale at any place within our vast System," Sharp said.
Sharp has asked for the ban to be implemented "as soon as is practical."
On Monday, Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B announced that they have banned e-cigarette products from their stores and pulled them from their shelves last week. Walmart announced in September that they would stop selling e-cigarettes in all Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the US.
Austin Public Health reported they found six cases of lung illness confirmed to be related to vaping in Travis County. In all of those confirmed cases, the victims have been hospitalized.
Read the full memo below: