EDITORIAL: Controlling the e-cigarette fad

Editorial Board
An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is an electrical device that simulates the act of tobacco smoking.

An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is an electrical device that simulates the act of tobacco smoking. (© CC BY-SA 2.0 by Michael Dorausch/michaeldorausch.com)

In a nicotine-obsessed generation, the constant presence of electronic cigarettes is becoming a growing problem in smoking and nonsmoking areas of Saddleback College. The “cigarettes” are a looming figure in all areas of the campus, classes and all.

Electronic cigarettes should be held to the same standards as other forms of smoking. Although the vapor from them isn’t as toxic as the smoke from a tobacco cigarette, it still does not belong in classrooms and other nonsmoking areas.

With the fad being relatively new, there has yet to be a plan implemented to control where they can be used. The Academic Senate, however, is approaching this hot topic fully armed. With the most recent meeting resulting in a unanimous decision to implement a smoking ban, the Academic Senate isn’t simply minimizing the problem, but bulldozing it.

Although the realization that there is a problem is a step in the right direction, the route being taken is an overkill of the minor problem. That being said, the District needs to develop a plan to minimize the problem and create a safe, healthy environment students.

Signs across campus claim “no e-cigarettes allowed,” however a sign hardly holds merit when the school hasn’t established any official rules. Besides, it isn’t difficult to simply slip the e-cigarette into one’s pocket, considering there is no fear of it burning you.

Fraunhofer, a major international research organization, did multiple test chamber measurements to analyze the emissions from electronic cigarettes compared to regular cigarettes that was published in the Indoor Air journal. Although the e-cigarettes emitted less in the ways of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gases that can cause short and long-term adverse effects on health, they emitted an equal amount of vaporized propylene glycol as regular cigarettes.

According to the study, the vaporized propylene glycol is thought to cause damage to the airways when inhaled in large doses. Therefore, although there is no noticeable impact when inhaling the odorless vapor given off by e-cigarette smokers, damage can be done internally.

Considering e-cigarettes are a new phenomenon, it is difficult to determine the damages they can cause to health. It is possible that they pose a threat to the health of the smokers and people exposed to the chemicals released. Just because the chemicals are supposedly less dangerous than regular smoke doesn’t mean it should be allowed in the areas that nonsmokers use for relaxation.

The various flavors of e-cigarettes, such as chocolate, blueberry and oreo milkshake, have only increased popularity of the product, causing its presence to be even more overbearing. These flavored products, although they don’t offer the same repulsive scent of cigarette smoke, release a sweet-smelling scent that can be equally as irritating to those who are forced to smell it.

It is no longer simply a matter of impacting those who choose to smoke them, e-cigarettes are becoming a burden in the lives of any student that steps foot in the quad, hallways and every other inch of campus. The school system needs to follow through with diminishing the problem, but not totally rid of students rights to smoke in designated areas.