How harmful can a puff of cherry-flavored smoke be? College students and health professionals are finding out.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there have been 380 lung-related illness cases over the past year and a half, and each involves the use of vaping products.
On Tuesday, New York became the first state to ban flavored electronic cigarettes. The next day, Michigan followed suit and became the second state to ban the sales of flavored e-cigarettes products.
Health officials in California confirmed Monday that another person has died from a vaping-related illness, marking the seventh victim of this crisis.
Tulare County, California health officials said they’re officially “warning community members about the dangerous effects of using electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.”
College students using e-cigarettes and electronic vaporizers has nearly tripled from 6.1 percent to 15.5 percent in one year, according to a national study by the University of Michigan.
“Vaping has seen a very dramatic increase in use in young adults and college students due to clever marketing campaigns by the manufacturers,” Jessica Higgs, the Bradley Director of Health Services, said. “Unfortunately, as evident by the recent number of deaths, these devices have not been fully vetted in the potential consequences.”
According to Higgs, Bradley Health Services “fully backs” the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation that students should refrain from vaping until more information surfaces.
“Vaping has been presented for several years as the ‘safe’ alternative to smoking cigarettes, but the end result is still introducing chemicals into your lungs,” Higgs said.
In response to the crisis, President Donald Trump and the Food and Drug Administration are preparing to remove all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market within 30 days.
Junior political science major Isaiah Harlan believes the ban isn’t an appropriate response to the outbreak.
“People must take responsibility,” Harlan said. “Since one does have to be 21 to buy e-cigs and tobacco products in many states, it can be assumed that they understand the risk associated with buying and using these products. A ban on legitimate e-cigarettes will only create a black market for foreign made, unregulated vape products.”
Professor and associate dean of the college of education and health sciences, Lori Russell-Chapin, recently published an article on healthline.com on how smoking affects the brain.
“Although research on e-cigarettes is limited, we know so far that they can have a negative impact on your brain and overall health,” Russell-Chapin said.
Senior advertising major Samantha Kestler said this recent outbreak has caused her to vape less.
“I told myself I’ll be off it by graduation [in December],” Kestler said. “I know nicotine is bad for you and I got myself addicted, but the few case studies that have saturated the media are alarming enough to get me to try and actively quit.”
Kestler said that from what she’s observed, Bradley students don’t seem to be concerned, and vaping remains popular.
“I think they’re concerned about the outbreak, but they act like they’re not,” Kestler said. “I think it comes down to the idea of ‘It won’t happen to me’ and they focus on the statistics showing only a number of cases.”
Vape-nation or health deterioration?