Vaping in the City

Vaping has become an epidemic among high school students according to Tobacco Free CA but is it may also an epidemic among college students.

Last year, SF tried to ban flavored tobacco including many vaping oils, but a tobacco industry campaign has but that ban on the June ballot to let the public decide and will be known as Prop E.

The tobacco industry has a long history of creating flavored products that are theorized to be aimed at young people even though you now have to be 21 to purchase tobacco and vaping products.

Vaping products were created to wean smokers off of cigarettes producing smoke similar to that of cigarette smoke but many of the vape users are minors that have never smoked cigarettes before and are more likely to move on to real cigarettes if they start with vaping according to NPR.

If this ban goes through, it will have an impact on SF’s economy for the bad and maybe good, “Because of these effects, the City may experience a loss of sales tax revenue from tobacco retailers. At the same time, the City may experience long-term and short-term decreases in the cost of public health, litter control and other public services affected by smoking and by uses of flavored tobacco products,” commented the San Francisco Controller.

The main firm funding the opposition to Prop E is R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and has spent an egregious $9,041,824, to overturn SF’s campaign to ban flavored tobacco products and put the item on the SF June ballot according to UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Although SF State is a smoke free campus, you can see students smoking and vaping around the perimeters of campus. Since the campus became smoke free, cigarette smoking has decreased, according to Rick Nazzardini, the interim director of the Health Promotion and Wellness unit at SF State.

“There has been a decrease in cigarette smoking. In fact, our data suggests it has potentially been cut in half,” Nizzardini said. “ Volunteers went from picking up eight cigarettes per minute at our campus’ smoking hot spots, to four cigarettes per minute during SF State’s Cigarette Butt Clean Ups.”

This may be due to people who have quit but it could also be due to an increase in vaping, due to the recent popularity of vaping among young people. When vaping started, it was seen as a healthier alternative to smoking but how much healthier is still unknown since studies have come out that vaping also has some health risks.

Emerging research does show that e-cigarettes contain thousands of toxins that are related to adverse health effects. Many believe that vaping is a tool that can be safely used to reduce smoking, however the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes for this purpose,” Nizzardini warns.

In a press release from the American Vaping Association dated January 23 of this year, they released a report on the consequences of e-cigarettes.

“Undoubtedly, there are inherent flaws in the report that reveal biases and misperceptions that are held by the authors. The committee ignored or downplayed critical research on toxicology, relative risk, and youth usage. However, we are pleased to see an organization like NASEM make a clear statement that the health of adult smokers will improve if they quit with vaping,” according to the American Vaping Association.

According to the report, “ There is conclusive evidence that in addition to nicotine, most e-cigarette products contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substance, they can explode and cause burns and projectile injuries,” The report in the press release goes on to warn, “That intentional or accidental exposure to e-liquids can result in adverse health effects including but not limited to seizures, anoxic brain injury, vomiting, and lactic acidosis [and]  that intentionally or unintentionally drinking or injecting e-liquids can be fatal,”

Many cities around the Bay Area have banned smoking cigarettes in public places but San Francisco is petitioning to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products including hookah and most vape oils.

According to Ballotpedia a group against this proposition (Prop E) claims, “We OPPOSE Proposition E, City Hall’s ban on the sale on menthol cigarettes, hookah tobacco, most vaping liquids and all other tobacco products they deem to contain a characterizing flavo…” No on Prop E.

The city wants to ban flavored tobacco products because they claim they are aimed at kids and young people to get them to smoke. Since vaping has become a trendy form of smoking, many people in the city and college students prefer this form of smoking. Some people vape because it has become a popular thing to do but others vape because they believe it is healthier than cigarettes.

The best way to wean yourself off cigarettes is by utilizing Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which is available to all students, staff, and faculty at low cost at the Student Health Services pharmacy,” Nizzardini suggests.