E-cigarettes are currently banned from campus, along with all other forms of tobacco, according to the Security Office at SPSCC. E-cigarettes, or “electronic cigarettes” are typically inhalers for vaporizing
liquid mixtures substituting for cigarettes. In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Research is inconclusive on the relative health risks of e-cigarettes compared to other forms of tobacco. However, there is no special exemption for the use of e-cigarettes on campus.
In 2011, SPSCC joined a wave of college campuses that have implemented tobacco or smoke free policies. The SPSCC Student Handbook EDIT specifies: “No one shall use tobacco products on any part of the college campus, with the exception that tobacco use is permitted inside privately owned vehicles…” Bans usually fall into two categories: “smoke-free” policies are limited to cigarette and cigar use, and “tobacco-free” which typically bans all recreational forms of tobacco.
This interpretation of the policy is also stated in the August 2011 press release found on the college’s website. The release states: “The policy applies to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and
chewing tobacco. It also applies to “smokeless” and electronic cigarettes, so there’s no confusion the policy is in effect.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists cigarette smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, attributed to 400,000 deaths per year. Health concerns could help drive e-cigarette sales. A 2011 study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health noted 63.4% of respondents believed e-cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of tobacco. According to a National Youth Tobacco survey by the CDC, from 2011 to 2012 e-cigarette use doubled among teens. Currently, there is no national ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors.
Lack of regulation complicates the e-cigarette debate. Notably, 2009 testing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found “Three different electronic cigarette cartridges with the same label… emitted a markedly different amount of nicotine with each puff.” Almost all cartridges labeled as containing no nicotine contained nicotine, and more than half the cartridges tested contained carcinogens.
Human rights is also a concern. Tracing the sources of nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves is difficult. The “Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing Foundation” continually documents abuses of tobacco workers, including widespread exposure of child laborers to deadly levels of nicotine.