Despite the multitude of anti-smoking signs posted around SFA and Nacogdoches, there is one form of air-pollution that has been flying under the regulation airways, leaving a cotton candy cloud and bubblegum scent through the air and by claiming to be “safer” than cigarettes.
Recently, Nacogdoches City Council members voted to adopt ordinance number 1793-03-19, adding vapes and e-cigarettes to the city’s smoking ban, meaning those who are a part of the “Vape Life” will need to adhere “no smoking” signs of any kind.
This decision is a smart move by the City of Nacogdoches and will be overall beneficial for students at SFA and members of the Nacogdoches community. As a community that prides itself on its scenery and parks, having the air free of annoying vapor clouds and various smells from e-cigarettes will enhance SFA students’ and community members’ time outdoors.
The constant smell of cotton candy or raspberry can be okay at times, but when you want to smell and experience what the earth has to offer, it can be distracting. Vapes and other e-cigarette products are not just annoying for people out on walks but can also be a problem for people who are around the vapor. Vapors from e-cigarettes are not as harmful as tobacco smoke, but with lenient restrictions on vapes, people with pre-existing breathing issues may fall victim to a puff.
Just like cigarettes infiltrating youth as it did in the 1990s, e-cigarettes and vapes are an increasing problem for the youth of America. In a figure released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 9.5 percent of 8th graders were said to be using e-cigarettes, following the lead of their 12th grade peers who had 16.2 percent recorded. In 2018, there was a 78-percent increase in recreational e-cigarette usage from a polling of high schoolers in 2017.
These restrictions on e-cigarettes will also help keep teenagers off nicotine. The main three reasons that students start to use e-cigarettes is because of their friends who use it, the wide variety of flavors and how easy the product is to obtain and use. It only takes one “cool” senior to get a minor some juice for their e-cigarette or vape. Once that senior is forced to face the consequences, it will help keep the younger kids from abusing the materials as well.
Vapes and e-cigarettes do have their place in helping to manage small cases of anxiety or keeping serious addicts off of a more harmful habit. However, these devices should still be limited to being used in certain places. In section three of the ordinance, it clearly states wheresomeplacescannotberegulated (i.e. private residences, retail tobacco stores, vape stores), which is fine and understandable. However, parks and schools should be two places where this type of behavior is inexcusable. Banning vapes and e-cigarettes indoors should already be done to respect the shared space, but places like parks and trails may need more signs to keep it vape-free.
With the rise of recreational vaping, more needs to be done to protect our community from unneeded air pollution and misuse by minors.