My college banned the use of electronic cigarettes on campus. They happen to be one of the few places around the U.S. that have actually gone through with this. The other colleges in Maryland (most colleges in the nation, to be specific) allow the use of electronic cigarettes on their campuses. I believe the ban is a mistake and will cause more people to use tobacco products on campus. I do not want electronic cigarettes to be un-banned completely. I just want the policy to be changed so that they may be used by people outside of the buildings on campus. I think this is an understandable request. My college has joined with the State to stop tobacco use on campus by joining the Cigarette Restitution Funds Program. This is a state program that gives the college funds every year for being proactive in tobacco prevention. In 2010, Carroll County was given over $110,000 to help aid in reducing tobacco use by individuals. On May 21, 2009, my college was given the shining star award by the Cigarette Restitution Fund of the Carroll County Health Department for outstanding work in tobacco prevention. I think things have changed since then. I think my college could be doing more to prevent tobacco use on campus now, and my proposal here could only help them with that. I have asked students about this and many agree with me and think this ban is a mistake. I believe e-cigarettes are a viable method in harm reduction over using tobacco products. I would like to prove that e-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, are a viable method at reducing tobacco use by students on campus. If I can prove this, then I may be able to get the college more funds from the state by showing they are really trying to stop the use of tobacco products. The above information shows that my college does want to help in the reduction of tobacco use, so the college should hear me out, as I can help.
Before I go on, allow me to explain what an e-cig is and how they work, in case you don’t know. The mistake that I see being made is places are banning e-cigs and they don’t even know much about them. They just react based on fear, without having any justifiable reasoning behind their answers. An e-cig has a chamber, battery, and atomizer. The chamber is what holds the ingredients, also known as e-liquid. This liquid is a mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol, and food grade flavorings. All these substances are considered safe to use by the FDA. The nicotine is used to provide a buzz. Propylene glycol is a substance used in foods, and this is what makes the vapor look like mist. The flavorings are used to add flavor to the e-liquid. The battery is what supplies power to the atomizer. You push a bottom on the e-cig, which activates the atomizer. The atomizer heats up the e-liquid and converts it into a vapor. As you can see, there is no smoke involved. Smoke requires burning a material. There is no fire, and no burning, thus no smoke. E-cig users are only breathing in and out water vapor. There are no tobacco products used in e-cigs, and nicotine-free e-liquids are available. This is where my issue with the ban begins.
The issue I have with my college banning e-cigs is that they do Not break Any rules within the smoke-free and tobacco policy. The college keeps trying to tell me otherwise. The Dean of Student Affairs, and security, told me that e-cigs are smoking devices so they are banned. They happen to be mistaken. As I stated above, they are not smoking devices and contain no tobacco products. So their argument that e-cigs are a smoking device is invalid. I was also told by an administrator that they banned e-cigs to help further make the campus a nicotine-free campus. Why are they pursuing this when they do Not have any policy involving nicotine whatsoever? There is no policy forbidding the use of nicotine, so telling me they are banned because they contain nicotine is not a valid argument either. Does this mean using a nicotine-free e-liquid is allowed on campus? Does this mean people who are attempting to kick their smoking habits can’t use nicotine patches for their nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) on campus? The Dean also told me that students used to smoke regular cigarettes, aka analogs, and when a security guard saw them, they would throw down the analog and say they were using their e-cig. So what? Banning e-cigs does not stop those students from smoking analogs on campus. If a security guard saw a student toss down an analog then they have the authority to write the student a citation. They would be able to smell the cigarette smoke if they were seriously smoking an analog. This is why I believe that is not a valid argument either. It may make the security guards jobs a little harder at times, but they are security guards. They should expect students to come up with these tactics and be prepared to counter-act. You may think modifying the ban would mean more training will be required for security. I could explain to the security guards in less than 30 minutes how to distinguish between e-cigs and other devices. It would not require much training at all and I’d be more than happy to help with that. E-cigs are easy to identify. Besides, is avoiding a little more training for some security guards really more important to the college then the students’ health? I sure hope not.
Banning e-cigs does not stop anyone from smoking on campus. People will likely just go back to smoking analogs instead. However, un-banning e-cigs would be a good way for the college to show students that there are new viable ways for students to quit smoking. If nicotine patches and other related nicotine replacement therapies have not worked for them then e-cigs could be the missing piece to getting students to quit smoking. Don’t believe me? Just read the many testimonials that people from around the world have stated on my online petition. This not only helps out the students, but make’s the college look better as well.
E-cig studies have shown that they do not cause harmful second-hand or third-hand vapor. Before 2012, there were very few studies conducted on e-cigs so fear overpowered people’s minds, thus causing bans on the device. However, in 2012 Clearstream Air conducted a study to find out whether e-cigs cause harm to anyone around someone using a e-cig. Their results show that even in a closed chamber there are no detectable amounts of nicotine in the air after individuals blew out the vapor. Just to show you how safe e-cigs are for bystanders, the experiment (pg. 6) concluded with this fact. “5 vapers using e-cigarettes for 5h in a small room without renewal of indoor air do not produce detectable levels of nicotine in the air.” Propylene glycol was also not detected in the air after the experiment, even though the e-liquid contained both nicotine and propylene glycol. There are also very minimal amounts of the other substances detected in the air afterwards. The amounts are well within the threshold safety limit that the FDA considers safe. Another interesting conclusion acquired from the experiments results show that “On the base of the obtained results and on ARPA data about urban pollution, we can conclude by saying that could be more unhealthy to breath air in big cities compared to staying in the same room with someone who is vaping.” (Pg. 10)There was another similar study conducted in 2012 called the IVAQS (Indoor Vapor Air Quality Study) project. They concluded that e-cig vapor does not harm or put anyone near e-cig users at risk. There was even a study conducted by the University of Chicago that you probably won’t believe. Theodore T. Puke has a PH.D and worked in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Chicago. He set out to see what chemicals could fight off bacteria in the air. His study concluded that propylene glycol, one of the main substances in e-liquid, is known to fight off bacteria that causes colds and flu’s. This is what the study had to say, “Propylene glycol, for example, will not produce rapid death of Staphylococcus albus in the test tube until a concentration of about 70 per cent has been achieved (9, 21). Yet in the air as little as 0.5 mg of propylene glycol per liter can almost completely sterilize an atmosphere containing hundreds of thousands of these bacteria per cubic foot.” E-cigs would not only help students to break their smoking habits, but there’s a chance they could help fight off bacteria in the area as well. Do you believe that e-cigs can help people at quitting their smoking habits? This is what the Polosa study tried to find out. They concluded that some people who refused to quit smoking actually went smoke-free for the entire 24-week period of the study. 30% of the people studied reduced cigarette smoking by 50%. 12% of the people studied reduced their daily smoking levels by 80%. 20% of the people studied went abstinent during the 24-week people. A coupe of them even quit cigarettes and the e-cig altogether. Keep in mind that these were people who refused to quit smoking at the beginning of the study. This all happened thanks to e-cigs! You can now see that there are new studies being conducted that help to show e-cigs are now being considered a safe and effective means of tobacco harm reduction by many.
I am a member of CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Anti-Smoking Alternatives Association). They are more than happy to help me out with this endeavor. They want to help me explain to you guys how banning e-cigs is a mistake and that modifying the ban can only help improve the students and faculties health. They can help me create flyers, petitions, etc to help my aid in proving my stance. They know plenty of people who know everything there is to know about e-cigs. They may be able to get me media coverage on this situation, if need be. So please, hear me out and let me explain to you guys how modifying this ban would be beneficial for everyone.
I am fully prepared to do whatever I can to convince anyone that banning e-cigs on campus only threatens peoples health. Modifying the ban on e-cigs not only has the potential to persuade more students to not use tobacco products on campus, but it is a viable way to help show students that there are new means of getting them to quit smoking, and my college should only want to help with that.