Is vape a good escape from the slope of cigarette smoke?
Monroe area residents who vape seem to agree that vaping is a great decision that helped them stray from cigarette smoking.
“I only vape a couple times a day,” former MCCC student Tate Beumel explains with relief.
“Breath smells better, taste is better, sick and runny nose less, heart and chest feels better, no more hacking loogies, no more painful dry mouth in the morning.”
Vape Escape owner Bill Amato emphasizes how much vaping helped his co-owner, Chris Goodman.
Goodman smoked for 27 years and was being checked for lung cancer when she tried a vaporizer for the first time.
“Chris vaped once and quit smoking eight years ago. Hasn’t touched another cigarette since,” Amato said.
Amato said there are no studies proving vaping is harmful.
“The FDA said there is no harm in second-hand vapor,” he said.
The FDA website, however, mentions cases of second-hand irritation or harm. But it is not fully addressed because the FDA is still researching and has no regulations on e-cigarettes yet.
Because they have no authority to cover the product, the FDA website says, they are trying to extend the policy on products they can cover.
“FDA has issued a proposed rule that would extend the agency’s tobacco authority to cover additional products that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes,” the website reads.
There were reports of non-user effects reported to the FDA, according to the Med Scape website. Twenty-one people reported respiratory irritation, eye irritation, sore throat, headache, nausea, and dizziness, and eight people reported burns or wounds from explosion.
The FDA also reported that more research is under way on the product. The FDA is organizing a workshop to gather scientific information and the focus will be to determine the impact of e-cigarettes on health.
Vape Escape owner Amato says he has never received any health complaints.
The FDA notes that illnesses reported to be caused by e-cigarettes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, disorientation, seizures, hypotension, and other health problems, could be related to pre-existing conditions or due to other causes.
Randy Daniels, MCCC’s vice president for Student Services, provided MCCC’s policy on e-cigarettes and vaporizers but declined to discuss it. The policy states:
“Smoking and the use of all tobacco products is prohibited at the College, and is subject to all applicable laws, including Federal and State ‘clean air’ acts. This tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products and includes use of all devices intended to simulate smoking, including electronic cigarettes and other similar types of devices.”
Some students, including former smoker and vaporizer user Andrew Swaro, think the policy should allow vaporizer use on campus.
“I don’t think it’s harmful. It’s just water vapor that comes out,” he said.
MCCC student Alexis Frank says vaping should be allowed on campus, as long as it is not in class.
“Less of an issue than cigarettes, as long as someone isn’t pulling it out in class,” she said. “I don’t want to be trying to concentrate and see smoke tricks.”
Even some students who have asthma and are bothered by cigarette smoke do not find electronic cigarettes and vaporizers a problem.
Jaclyn Kiley is an occasional vaporizer user.
“I have asthma and cigarette smoke bothers me, but e-cigs never have. Unless you’re blowing it in someone’s face, the nicotine in them shouldn’t be a problem.”
Student Carabeth Perkins says that although electronic cigarettes and vaporizers may be less harmful than cigarettes, but that doesn’t make them safe.
“I feel like anything you inhale is probably bad for your body,” she said.
Although vaping as a replacement to cigarettes is becoming more popular, smoking is a never-ending struggle. Former vaporizer user Kaitlyn Mayes ended up going back to cigarettes.
“I tried it out for a few weeks, maybe a few months it helped for a short while, but then I went back to cigarettes because the feel and taste wasn’t the same as a cigarette.” Kaitlyn Mayes said.
Andrew Swaro makes it clear that even though he stopped smoking in January it’s hard to get cigarettes off his mind.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about a cigarette.”