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University Warns About Vaping

Uni VapingAn article was released by Suanne Schaad, Substance Abuse Coordinator and advisor to the Students in Recovery Club, and Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, in response to the growing vaping epidemic and health concerns last Tuesday.

According to Schaad, there have been 450 reported cases of young persons aged 15-35 years old and five deaths confirmed in the United States.

Schaad warned, “There is a growing epidemic of acute severe respiratory disease associated with e-cigarette products/vaping.”

According to Health Services, indications of the disease begin to appear over the course of 1-7 days, with the first symptoms being coughing and shortness of breath. Later, the symptoms can worsen to chest pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.  

“The severe respiratory disease that occurs as a result of vaping is associated with chemical exposure and does not appear to be caused by an infectious agent such as bacteria,” Health Services wrote in the article. “That means antibiotics are of little use in treating the type of pneumonia, acute lipoid pneumonia, seen with many of these cases.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive substance found in other tobacco products and regular cigarettes. Nicotine is harmful to the adolescent brain, which does not fully develop until around age 25. Among the parts of the brains that can be affected by nicotine are the ones that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. 

Uni Vaping 2The CDC also warned that labels on electronic cigarettes may not be completely accurate, writing, “It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain. For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.” 

According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which is a joint study conducted by the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of electronic cigarettes by high school students increased by 78 percent from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, around 11.7 percent of high school used electronic cigarettes; in 2018, the number jumped to 20.8 percent, accounting for approximately 3.05 million students. 

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Services, said that University officials have not yet discussed a ban on vaping or smoking, but reiterated that vaping and smoking are not permitted in any building on campus. Under the current student handbook, any student, faculty member or visitor who smokes must be at least 25 feet away from all buildings. 

“We don’t make a distinction at all,” Nagy said. “If you’re going to vape, you’re going to vape outside, just as if you were going to smoke, you were going to do it outside.” 

While Nagy said that there would be no current changes to the student handbook regarding smoking, the University would be open to changes if concerns were raised by student government and other groups. One hypothetical example given was increasing the smoking ban to within 100 feet of a building. However, she mentioned the challenges associated with deciding penalties for those who violate the ban. 

“If the community itself says we want to be smoke-free, then we would certainly respond to that,” Nagy said. 

However, not all students support additional bans on smoking on campus. “I would be bothered by that, because people smoke and vape everywhere, and to constrict young adults from making their own decisions would be wrong,” said Patrick Trezza, a sophomore health studies student. 

In the Monmouth University student handbook, smoking is defined as “the burning, inhaling from, exhaling from, or the possession of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked, or the inhaling or exhaling of smoke or vapor from a hookah or an electronic device.

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