More regulation needed on e-cigs and vaporizers

Cigarette smoking is known to be an extreme health hazard, yet people still continue to do it. Some may believe that switching over to electronic cigarettes to cut back from the traditional tobacco stick is a healthy choice, but that idea is becoming known by health experts to be false.

Despite the growing popularity of e-cigarettes and battery-powered vaporizer pens, users are now being restricted as to where they can smoke them. San Francisco adopted a policy limiting e-cigarette use to primarily outdoor areas away from building windows or entrances in April 2014, according to the San Francisco Tobacco Free Project’s website.

While the policy is a step in the right direction, there needs to be more regulations and education about electronic cigarettes and vaporizer pens so people are aware of the negative health effects and danger they are putting their bodies through.

E-cigs and vape pens are fairly new to the scene as of 2008. The Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society are still unsure of the effects it has on a user’s health because of the lack of research. What the FDA is certain of is that these pens contain toxic chemicals that should not be inhaled. A report by the California Department of Public Health found that liquid used for electronic cigarettes contain at least 10 chemicals known to cause cancer.

It should be obvious nothing good is coming from smoking them just from looking at the unattractive goo in the transparent glass of vaporizers. Many users believe that e-cigs are less harmful because they don’t contain tar or odor, nor produce smoke like regular cigarettes, but what they do contain is nicotine, which is extremely addicting.

Although their scent isn’t as bothersome as regular cigarettes, it’s hard enough walking through campus without passing by a cloud of cigarette smoke or vapor, even though it is not permitted. Students continue to use vaporizers and e-cigs in the classroom, hallway and buses instead of the designated smoking areas because users believe they can smoke wherever they want as long as they aren’t lighting up traditional cigarettes, according to SF State’s Residential Life.

Other cities in the state are on track to creating a healthier environment for people. Richmond and Petaluma have recently passed a ban similar to San Francisco on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places.

State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco introduced a California bill on Jan. 26 that targets the popular pens. The state bill would ban the smoking devices in the same places that traditional cigarettes are banned from.

In addition to the health hazards the smoking tool has on our bodies, e-cigs and vape pens lure in younger generations by adding desirable flavors such as chocolate milk, watermelon and bubble gum.

What teens may not know is the smoking pens produce high levels of formaldehyde-releasing chemicals at high voltages, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month. These are the same chemicals that were used to keep the cats you dissected in high school anatomy preserved.

The results of these studies indicate that the state should be putting stricter regulations on e-cigarettes and vaporizers. It is not right to sell unregulated, formaldehyde-releasing chemicals to people and make it seem okay just because it’s trending.

Many e-cig or vape users are usually former smokers looking for a healthier way to feed their habit without quitting cold turkey. What ever happened to nicotine patches or gum that helps quit smoking? Smoking something in a different way or using a new device isn’t going to help addicts quit. It is just one bad habit replacing another.

It seems like we just got to a place where cigarettes have become less popular, but now that the newest fad has reached younger generations, who knows when there will be an end to the irresponsible habit. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes should be heavily restricted in all public places throughout the state to protect everyone’s health. Unfortunately, e-cigarettes are beginning to make smoking popular again and making people ignore the importance of their health.