Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigs,” which is what they have become more commonly referred to as, have become one of the hottest trends among smokers worldwide within the last decade. Since the introduction of e-cigs in 2003, young adults, especially students, have become more frequent users of the electronic cigarette over the use of traditional cigarettes.
One of the reasons this has occurred is because e-cigs seem to offer a healthier alternative to the use of traditional cigarettes by avoiding the tar and other dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that seem to be related to smoke in a regular cigarette. More than 1.78 million students attending college have either tried E-cigs or smoke them on a regular basis, according to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2013.
What has become one of the alluring reasons for smoking e-cigs is that it allows the user to simulate the effect of smoking a real cigarette. The metal tubes are designed to look like real cigarettes and contain a cartridge filled with a nicotine laced liquid that is vaporized by a battery-powered heating element. The nicotine vapor is inhaled by the user/smoker when they draw on the device, as they would on a regular cigarette.
Analyst Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities said that, “Electronic cigarette sales in the U.S. will more than double this year, hitting $1.7 billion and goes on to state that ‘conservative data,’ already indicates that sales of e-cigarettes this year have already reached $700 million from traditional retail outlets like convenience stores, and if you throw in the estimated online sales of $500 million to $625 million, that would push year-to-date sales to above $1 billion this year alone.” E-cig sales are still much lower than that of traditional cigarettes which will create approximately $80 Billion annually.
At this point, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed no regulation against the use of e-cigs, however, in July 2009 the FDA released results of its analysis of certain electronic cigarettes, which was the first known analysis of these new products. The analysis found that e-cig cartridges contain carcinogens, including nitrosamines, along with toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol.
The FDA commissioner stated that, “The FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public and since e-cigarettes have not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval, at this time the agency has no way of knowing, except for the limited testing it has performed, the levels of nicotine or the amounts or kinds of other chemicals that the various brands of these products deliver to the user, nor is there any information known about the risks of inhaling secondhand vapor.”
In July of 2012, The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) joined the list of many colleges throughout Maryland which have adopted a tobacco-free policy for all of their main campuses. The tobacco-free policy designates that (CCBC Catonsville, CCBC Dundalk, CCBC Essex, CCBC Hunt Valley) would encourage a tobacco-free campus, which would include no smoking in and around all buildings, parking lots, athletic fields and other recreational areas located within the perimeter roads of these campuses.
In February of 2014, an amendment to this policy is to be voted on and the Amendment is as follows:
Proposed Amendment to the CCBC Smoking and Tobacco Free Policy – The core of each campus of the Community College of Baltimore County is designated as a tobacco-free environment. Therefore smoking and the use of tobacco products are prohibited in or on any CCBC campus except for areas specifically designated as “smoking areas,” on campus perimeters or in private automobiles in designated parking lots. This policy defines tobacco as type of tobacco product including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes or other inhaler delivery devices.This Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy applies to all facilities and to all events taking place on college property. It applies equally to members of the college community and visitors to the campuses, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, parents, visitors, contractors, and vendors.
Faculty, Staff, and students at the college’s extension sites are expected to observe the smoking and tobacco-free policies of property owners of those buildings currently in force or revised in the future.
Some students are not so happy with the new Amendment, as we (CCBC Connection) received an e-mail on the same day we decided to do the article from a student who attends CCBC Essex. The student, who requested that he remain anonymous, stated that, “this is ridiculous and smacks of socialism,” and then he goes on to say, “When do we say enough is enough and personal responsibility rights should trump those of the so-called collective.”
Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis, President of the Community College of Baltimore County stated that, “This is a huge spin-off of what has become the college’s tobacco-free policy; and it is a change that will have impact. CCBC has a very well-defined college governance structure. When you have 70,000 students and 5,600 employees, there needs to be some formal process to reach decisions of this magnitude. We said from the beginning, if smokers do not respect the college’s Smoking and Tobacco-Free Policy, then we would have to revisit it. As people were “vaping” in classrooms, we realized we needed to revisit the college policy to address this issue. We don’t want to be unrealistic about the needs and wants or habits of smokers; we just want to promote healthy bodies and healthy minds here at CCBC. The Board of Trustees will vote in February on this new Amendment, and if it is a unanimous decision, the new policy will probably go into effect on March 1st, of 2014.”
If you are an individual looking to quit smoking you can go to: www.ccbcmd.edu/tobaccofree .
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