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E-cigarette Fad Blowing Lots Of Smoke


It’s a new way to smoke, but inhaling e-cigarettes comes with the same old risks, according to some health experts at Ole Miss.

T Davis, a health educator for the Office of Health Promotion, says the ingredients list should serve as a warning.

“There is acidic acid, which is vinegar. Ammonia, which is in toilet cleaner. Arsenic, which is poison. Cadmium, which is used in batteries. Butane, which is lighter fluid, and formaldehyde, which is used to preserve dead bodies.”

Davis says she doesn’t understand why you would ever mix those ingredients together, when clearly they are things you don’t want or need in your body.

“I don’t have a clue why they would do it, but you would never say, ‘Oh, let me just play around with some ammonia and some formaldehyde and mix a little butane,’” said Davis.

Yet, a study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that about 5 percent of college students have given e-cigarettes a try. They also found that the e-cigarette was more common among conventional smokers.

Beth Derryberry, a second-year health promotion graduate student and conductor of the “Quit Smoking” sessions on campus, says e-cigarettes will appeal to younger generations because they’re “trendy.”

“Anything that is new, sleek or cool they want to try,” Derryberry explained.

In fact, e-cigarettes are advertised as a new way to smoke. E-cigarettes are battery- operated devices for which you purchase pre-packaged cartridges. The e-cigarette cartridges are sold in different flavors like mango, vanilla and peach.

Junior Jared Solomon says he is a social smoker who has tried e-cigarettes. He adds the improved smell may be one thing that attracts younger people to e-cigarettes, but he says he doesn’t plan to switch. “No, I don’t think I’ll smoke e-cigarettes because the flavor and satisfaction are not the same.”

E-cigarettes do contain nicotine and do give off a vapor that is still being studied for harmful effects. So while e-cigarettes are a little different than regular cigarettes, Derryberry says they’re included in the Ole Miss smoking ban. What tends to bother non-smokers is not necessarily the effect on the smoker, but on people nearby. The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights recorded that 53,800 people die each year from second hand smoke exposure.

Davis hates the smell of smoke, but if it didn’t affect other people, she says she wouldn’t have a problem with people smoking. The idea of children being surrounded by smoke and not being able to escape concerns Davis.

Derryberry has similar thoughts. “I believe that smoking is a personal choice; however I do think it should be banned in all public areas because of the effects of second-hand smoke,” she said. “I believe that health-risks smokers part-take in is extremely high.”

Whether you’re hooked on e-cigarettes or traditional smokes, if you’re an Ole Miss student, you can attend a smoker’s cessation program for free. Students will get to talk about why they want to quit smoking, set a quit date and receive strategies to cut back their nicotine intake per week. To find out more, contact Beth Derryberry at egderryb@olemiss.edu.

Chandler Clarkson, journalism student, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

You can email Chandler at cbclarks@go.olemiss.edu

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