Letter to the Editor: E-Cigs Are NOT Harmless

A recent article in the latest edition of The Viking News had an editorial which showed a lack of understanding of some of the important findings and some misperceptions. E-cigarettes and vaping devices are not harmless and pose several risks to their users, as well as to our already established “Tobacco-Free Campus Policy.” People walking about, outdoors, on campus, puffing out billowing clouds of white smoke-like vapor, contribute to the impression that those are tobacco-filled cigarettes and that it the policy really is not in effect and/or does not apply to all.

It is important for both of these groups to have the facts and information that has come to light in the past three years as a result of scientific studies and surveys conducted by the medical communities including the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, as well as studies by other educational institutions. The data indicates that [the risks] e-cigarettes and vaping devices pose are not innocuous, safe instruments, and have actually increased tobacco smoking in younger students in middle-schools and high-schools.

While they may have helped a small number of people end tobacco smoking, the hazards they pose and the numbers of new smokers that they contribute to far outweigh any benefits from them.

Many other colleges have already realized this, as well as the Westchester County Board of Legislators, who held extensive public hearings from groups on both sides of this issue before banning them from county indoor workplace sites this past June. The National Center for Tobacco Policy (NCTP) and its founder, Ty Patterson, have argued strongly for their inclusion in tobacco-free campus policies.

It would be a serious setback if these one or both of these campus groups were not to support the recommendation of the Faculty Senate on this very important health issue, which contributes to the life or death of our students.

Signed, Sheldon Malev.

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