Many concerned people jump to conclusions about the similarities between tobacco cigarettes and their electronic counterparts without assessing how their dangers differ, and what it means to be a bystander when someone vapes.
With Trump’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes due to an increased number of vaping related illnesses, people are talking about vaping now more than ever. Health issues and other potential dangers presented by e-cigarettes are becoming more and more apparent, and people want to know more about how they could be exposed to these risks and what exactly those risks are.
Nicotine vapes should be allowed on campus because secondhand vapor has negligible risks outdoors and it’s not the college’s responsibility to influence the personal choices of its students, even if vaping is unsafe for the user.
Secondhand vapor doesn’t pose the same risks as secondhand smoke. Smoke is an inherently dangerous substance without even considering the carcinogens and chemicals present in a cigarette, whereas vapor is a condensed gas of any kind. Propylene glycol, a food additive, vegetable glycerin, a vegetable-based compound, and water are the three ingredients that make up the majority of e-liquids used in vapes, none of which are toxic.
Unlike cigarettes, vapor is only coming from the e-cigarette while it’s actively being used, meaning all of the vapor in the air is the vapor exhaled from the user, creating less of an environmental impact than traditional cigarettes.
Cigarette smoke, on the other hand, is primarily burnt carbon and tar, which has the capability to inflame and clog lungs. Smoke that comes from a lit cigarette is called sidestream smoke, and is more dangerous for people around than mainstream smoke because it isn’t filtered through the user’s respiratory system. Sidestream smoke is not a factor with nicotine vapes.
Vaping is not good for the user’s health; we have numerous studies that prove that. However, a study conducted by Dr. Siegel at the Boston University School of Public Health concluded that even in a small, unventilated vape shop with over 13 people vaping, tests of the chemicals in e-liquid found in the air “did not document any dangerous levels of exposure to any hazardous chemical.”
Students should be able to vape on campus because it can help them manage stress, as long as you do it outside and stay away from areas with lots of people
Allowing vaping on campus can be seen as condoning it. Vaping is dangerous. However, it is not the school’s responsibility to control decisions the students make about their own health. A level of courtesy needs to be adopted, although exhaled vapor is not dangerous, vaping indoors or near other people is rude. The scent or direct inhalation of the vapor can be bothersome to other students, but courteous students will vape away from large groups of people.
However, EdCC does offer resources to help recover from a nicotine addiction. The Health and Wellness Center in Lynnwood Hall has resources to help control and quit a nicotine addiction, as well as a calm, quiet environment that could function as a de-stressor and alternative to nicotine while on campus.
Second hand vapor is not dangerous in even the most concentrated environments. Nicotine vapes should be allowed on campus outdoors to accommodate for irritant factors of vapor, but should never be considered a health issue for anyone other than the vaper.
There has been a lot of negative press about vaping since the tobacco and nicotine ban was put in place on campus, and it would be reasonable to revisit this policy. EdCC has suitable options to help those with a nicotine addiction and it speaks to how the students are cared about by staff and administration, but I feel that is the extent they should be involved with nicotine users knowing the risks posed for those around vapers.