Following almost 500 reports this summer of vaping-related lung illnesses across the nation, President Trump announced on Sept. 11 that he plans to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes. Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, where a woman died from vaping-related illness Oct. 1, created a task force this month to evaluate possible state solutions to the epidemic.
It’s no secret that many students on campus vape. But despite health warnings against the use of e-cigarettes from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many students are still vaping – and they aren’t entirely sold on the president’s plan.
A sophomore at the university called the Trump administration’s plan to ban e-cigarettes unnecessary.
The student claimed that taking a “couple of puffs” throughout the day helps her manage her anxiety when she needs to.
“Smoking an e-cigarette is just like smoking a regular cigarette with more convenience,” she said.
She thinks people should have the freedom to buy e-cigarettes knowing its bad for their bodies in the same way people are aware of the health risks of traditional cigarettes when purchasing them.
Student Phil Andre Amiths, however, said he’s open to the idea of an e-cigarette ban. He noted that e-cigarettes changed the way people smoke because it can now be done anywhere.
“Would you rather have the greater evil — which is cigarettes — or the lesser, more convenient evil — which is e-cigarettes?” he said.
As a former JUUL user, Andre Amiths thought e-cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes. He also knows many people who were able to quit smoking cigarettes by vaping instead. Responding to news of the Trump administration’s planned e-cigarette ban, Amiths said America is currently facing far more pressing issues.
“Trump has such a strong take on e-cigarettes but leaves other things on the table, like gun control,” he said. “It’s probably for his own agenda.”
Vaping-related deaths in the United States are still rising. The CDC reported Oct. 10 that the toll has risen to 26. The first vaping-related death of a teenager occurred on Oct. 4 in the Bronx, where a 17-year-old boy died, according to New York state health officials.
A junior at William Paterson discussed her first-hand experience of the severity of young adults blindly purchasing e-cigarette pods. Her family owns a smoke shop.
“People will literally start off with one pack and I will visualize how many times they’ll come throughout the week,” she said. “Next thing you know, they come for two packs, and later come to buy a [whole] box of pods.”
She also believes it’s critical to teach parents about the dangers of vaping. When young customers try to purchase tobacco products, her family denies them service. But she said that these customers’ parents purchase the products for them. The minors trying to get e-cigarettes or pods tend to be very assertive, sometimes yelling at their parents to persuade them to purchase e-cigarette pods on their behalf.
“I think the parents don’t know [the danger],” she said. “A lot of these parents don’t speak a lot of English or they just don’t care.”