Stress is a common factor that is most college students’ lives. To relieve it, students listen to music, play with music or exercise, while other students may pick up certain activities such as caffeine, shopping excessively or using e-cigarettes to blow off steam.
This trend of e-cigarette usage has grown tremendously through the use of social media platforms such as Vine, Instagram and Snapchat, where users make master edits of themselves doing tricks with smoke along with good music and visual edits.
It caught the attention of youth for the use among high schoolers increasing by 78 percent according to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. With 20 percent of high schoolers now using e-cigarettes, the government is now intervening on this apparent crisis.
So far, 7 people have died from using e-cigarettes due to unknown circumstances along with 500 having lung injuries. On Sept. 11, Trump held a press conference in regard to the progress of banning all vaping products referencing the youth.
“We can’t have our youth be so affected,” Trump said.
The fears that many vaping companies have is that if this ban is successful then it will cause past smokers to go back to cigarettes or bring new people to try them to fulfill their nicotine needs. Whether their claims are true or not, some members of the Southern Miss community share their thoughts on the situation.
Health Educator and Promotions Coordinator at Moffitt Health Center Kayla Johnson is a certified health education specialist who has been a part of Southern Miss’ tobacco-free policy implementation.
Johnson describes a few of the side effects students can have who smoke e-cigarettes can include risks to heart health, disruption of lung functions, cough, trouble breathing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Sophomore speech pathology major Anna Taylor* shared similar concerns to her health.
“My sophomore year of high school, I started to vape, and my friends were doing it, so I decided to get one,” Taylor said. “One thing that worries me about my health is I’m coughing a lot more since I started.”
Senior biomedical sciences major Zach Wellington* said he also began vaping when he saw his friends in the fraternity using vapes and e-cigarettes.
The ‘buzz’ that comes from using e-cigarettes relieves stress for Taylor and Wellington, but Johnson touched on the addictive qualities from these products.
“There is a belief that these are safer than traditional cigarettes, but they do still have some risk associated with their use. The liquid used in vaping devices and the more popular JUUL contain nicotine which is highly addictive,” Johnson said. “So what starts out as a your person trying it because of the flavors, becomes that individual being addicted to nicotine.”
The amount of college students who consume nicotine has consistently grown; both Taylor and Wellington agree that they would not carry on this experience if the ban is fully processed nationally.
“I agree with Trump because I think it’s not smart to even have them to get more people addicted to nicotine. If it were to be banned, I would personally save a lot of money,” Taylor said.
Wellington said that although he would stop using nicotine products, he found the potential ban comical.
“Why would the president advocate for an e-cig ban, and not focus on eradicating cigarettes? If the ban is successful, I will most likely stop my use of nicotine because I have no inclination to smoke cigarettes, dip…But I would save more money if the ban was enacted,” Wellington said.
Johnson showed no surprise to the government now taking action over this issue.
“With the increase in reported illnesses linked to the use of these devices, specifically the flavored liquids, I am not surprised to see some form of action being taken. At a certain point, it becomes a public health issue and intervention is needed,” Johnson said.
*Names have been changed for anonymity.