Editorial: E-cigarette ban makes for a healthier campus


Electronic cigarettes were invented in the 1960s, but have only recently become popular in the U.S. Unlike regular cigarettes, they are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Editorial Board

Iowa State made the smart move in July 2008 to eliminate the use of cigarettes on campus under the Smokefree Air Act. The goal was to reduce the amount of tobacco exposure experienced by students, faculty and others on campus — and it worked, for a while anyway.

The air on campus was smoke-free, and the national goal to kick cigarette addiction was going smoothly. Only about 18 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 smoked cigarettes as of 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But when electronic cigarettes gained popularity in 2010, it seemed that students had found a loophole to satisfy nicotine cravings. E-cigs were viewed as being safer and healthier for users. Between 2010 and 2013, the use of e-cigs more than doubled among young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thankfully, nearly five years after the e-cigarette popularity explosion, Iowa State is finally cracking down on campus vaping, and the Daily Editorial Board wholeheartedly supports the motion.

The Iowa State University Professional and Scientific Council voted Thursday to back a proposal that would put e-cigarettes under the university’s smokefree policy. The change will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Although e-cigarettes do not create the same sort of malodorous smell and annoyance for the general public that traditional cigarettes do, they still pose health risks to users, which was a huge motivating factor behind the amendment to this policy.

Hopefully this new campus policy will make students aware of just how detrimental using these devices as a cigarette substitute can be to their health.

In May, Time released new ways that e-cigs have been proven to negatively impact the health of users, such as suppressing the ability to cough, how a user’s body handles the ingestion of tobacco and different flavor types impacting lung function.

But perhaps the most significant of all is the fact that e-cigs have been disproven as a sustainable way to quit smoking cigarettes. For the first month or so, the University of Toronto reports, the user will ‘quit’ smoking cigarettes but after three to four months, the user will become numb to the substituting e-cig.

Additionally, even if a student doesn’t vape to quit smoking, the use of e-cigs can put the user at risk to develop their own nicotine addiction, which defeats any purpose for e-cigarettes.

The removal of cigarettes on campus was an excellent step to improving the health of our campus, and had e-cigs been allowed continued use, they would have, in essence, undone all the health improvements made by the first policy.