While walking down the main campus, it is likely you will see clouds circling students’ heads and small USB-like devices in their hands.
“When I look outside my window, I see hundreds of people smoking.,” said Laura Suits, Coordinator of Wellness Education & Prevention. “Whatever the substance might be in there, there’s still always a risk of addiction or substance abuse disorder.”
According to The General Surgeon, a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is conjunction with the US Health and Human Services, the most commonly cited reasons for using e-cigarettes among both youth and young adults are curiosity, flavoring, taste, and low perceived harm compared to other tobacco products.
“As much as I think vaping sucks,” said a freshman who did not want to be named. “I’m also gonna say that I would rather see someone vape than smoke a pack of cigarettes ‘cause cigarettes are so much worse than vaping.”
However, The CDC still warns that although e-cigarettes expose users to fewer harmful chemicals than burned cigarettes, burned cigarettes are extraordinarily dangerous, killing half of all people who smoke long-term.
Vaping on campus also exposes non-vaping students to secondhand smoke.
“[Vaping] has become a gateway to smoking and worse health outcomes from students,” said Jasmin Medina, a public health major. “It’s not stopping anything like it was supposed to and it’s not healthier. It’s actually having younger age groups getting into [smoking] earlier.”
The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation has found that secondhand aerosol [vapor produced by E-cigarettes] contains nicotine, ultrafine particles and low levels of toxins that are known to cause cancer.
Nanoparticles in the aerosol are much smaller than the particles in tobacco smoke and are present in much higher concentrations. They are more easily and deeply breathed into the lungs of the user and bystander.
“All my friends vaped and it just led to them smoking cigarettes,” said student Bobby Levy. “I think it does more harm than good.”
Wellness and prevention services has about 40 programs for informing students on potential dangers/ preventing harm, including smoking and addiction. One of the programs is called Breathe Easy, focusing on nicotine addictions.
“We do a program called Great American smoke out,” said Suits, “This is something that’s not new to us. This is something that we’ve been trying to prevent for a long time.
I talk about it quite regularly with my students and the peer educators on campus, one of their job responsibilities is to spread the word as much as possible.”
The CDC warns that the brain keeps developing until around 25 years of age, yet most of the users are under the age of 25. Nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, impulse control, and memory.
Health and Wellness Services on campus assures that there are ways to quit smoking and that they are here to help.
Email Natalie at: