Tobacco ban applies to electronic cigarettes despite inconclusive evidence

David Gourley, Contributing Reporter

Tulane’s tobacco-free campus policy bans the use of electronic cigarettes on campus. E-cigarettes a popular aid in quitting smoking and their use is on the rise among young people, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey published August 20.  

E-cigarettes are a relatively new product on the market and a limited number of scientific studies have been done to examine the impact e-cigarettes have on human health.  

“Electronic cigarettes contain propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and added flavor for taste while normal cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals,” Holland Counce, an employee at local e-cigarette vendor Calhoun Vapors, said.

Holland said that the policy could prevent tobacco users from the possible benefits of vaping nicotine.  

“The ban may be jumping the gun,” Counce, said “[It may be] deterring people from making the switch to less harmful electronic cigarettes.”

Director of Student Health Scott Tims said the policy was crafted to include electronic cigarettes because of the lack of research and federal regulation of the substance.  

“These products may be harmful,” Tims said. “We don’t really know what is in it. If research shows us that they are not harmful, the current policy would likely be amended.”

Senior Will Katz is not a tobacco user, but he has no problems with others around him using electronic cigarettes.  

“There is no chance that electronic cigarettes are anything except bad for your health,” Katz said. “They do not bother me, but it’s not like having them banned on campus would be a violation of anyone’s rights.”  

Senior Kevin Burgess said he strongly disagrees with the newly implemented policy. 

“Electronic cigarettes should not be banned because they are used as a cessation aid,” Burgess said. “I’ve been using them to stop smoking and now I cannot even use [an e-cigarette] on campus.”

The health risks of e-cigarette use are unclear but some users choose them as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

“There is much misinformation regarding the help or harm that electronic cigarettes do to the consumer,” Tims said. “There is no evidence to show that this is a good thing to use as a cessation aid.”