Letter: GSB recommendation a wise decision

It is unfortunate that the Daily Editorial Board did not have all the facts before they wrote their opinion in the Feb. 9 edition. They quoted Nathan Davis as indicating that the survey given to GSB concerning the opinions of Story County residents and e-cigarettes was not given to ISU students. This is not true.

The survey began as a class project that was designed and distributed by members of the ISU Health Promotion Club last October. It was done so with the assistance of both faculty and other local public health professionals. Participation was voluntary. The premise and questions were simple:

1. Were participants familiar with c-cigarettes? 2. Have participants ever been in close proximity of someone using one? 3. Was their opinion of them favorable or unfavorable? 4. Did they want to be around people who used them? 5. Would they be more or less likely to frequent places where they would be allowed? and 6. Would they support a ban?

Of the 598 persons who completed the survey, 396 were ISU students, 31 were staff/faculty and 78 were persons who were involved in programs held on campus. The remaining 93 were Ames High School students. Of all those surveyed, 336 said they would be somewhat or very likely to support a ban of e-cigarette/vaping devices in public spaces.

Banning these products at Iowa State would not be cutting edge. Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis already prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in public as do Madison, Rochester, and Duluth. North Dakota, Utah and New Jersey have state-wide bans with California soon to be the fourth.

The University of Iowa already bans their use in all residence halls. Norway, Indonesia, Singapore already have nationwide bans of e-cigarettes in public spaces. These bans are not an attempt to thwart the public’s right to choose; they aim to prevent unwanted exposure in campus facilities and on campus property.

E-cigarettes contain very high levels of nicotine which, besides being the most addictive of substances, is also extremely toxic. The World Health Organization recognizes the presence of large concentrations of propylene glycol in e-cigarettes, saying that the chemical is a known irritant when inhaled.

The World Health Organization also acknowledges the risk of nicotine poisoning, particularly to certain populations like children if they were to swallow or absorb the contents of a nicotine cartridge. Recently, the CDC released figures regarding the increased number of calls to poison centers involving electronic cigarettes. The number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month by February 2014. 

Although they may serve as a cessation product for some, the FDA does not recognize them as such as they do no work to reduce the level of nicotine as true cessation products are designed to do. 

The Health Promotion Club supports GSB in this important public health issue and encourages other students to voice their support as well.