By Nathan Maniscalco & Persephone Hudzinki
March 25, 2019
In recent years, the use of electronic smoking paraphernalia, such as e-cigarettes, vapes, and Juuls has become an epidemic in colleges and universities across the nation. Genesee Community College is no exception. We performed a survey of 85 GCC students asking if they have smoked cigarettes, vapes, or Juuls in the past month, and we found that 31% have tried them at least once. Now, that number does not immediately seem alarming, but when you consider that approximately 5500 students attend GCC, 31% of that is around 1705 students.
E-cigs were first introduced in 2007 as a means to help smokers find a “healthier” alternative to cigarettes. Little research was available at that time, so long term side effects were not discovered yet. Since Juuls and vapes are fairly new, few restrictions have been implemented on them and they are not FDA regulated. Vaping and Juuling can cause insomnia, dry mouth, dizziness, allergies, and according to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, some flavors of vape juice can cause harm to your blood vessels. Since there are so many different “flavors” of vape juice and Juul pods, each can have its own set of different chemicals which can be dangerous and poisonous if it comes in contact with your eyes, skin, or if accidently swallowed.
Besides the dangers and mysteries of e-cigarettes, there is also the obvious main issue: nicotine addiction. When introduced back in the 2000s, e-cigarettes were targeted to people who wanted to quit smoking, and these methods were supposed to help smokers slowly over time lose the addiction altogether. In an article written by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the authors state that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs available and that many e-cigs users, especially kids, are more likely to develop an addiction and start smoking traditional cigarettes as well.
Since this epidemic of electronic smoking is so new, regulations are limited so it will be interesting to see how colleges and places of employment will handle this. Will there be drug tests created to see if someone has used a vape recently? Will athletes be able to play sports even if they smoke? Will some universities or jobs turn away people who have an addiction to e-cigarettes? Hopefully someone will take action before it’s too late.