Electronic cigarette use raises possible health complications


What started out as an alternative to smoking cigarettes has turned into a new addiction of its own. People who have never touched the butt of a cigarette to their lips are beginning to use a juul or other electronic smoking substitutes on a daily basis.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been alerted of 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease linked to the use of e-cigarettes. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, nine of the cases reported came from Louisiana.
Many ULM students either vape themselves or know someone who does. Freshman education major Samantha Summers said that almost all of the people in her life use a juul.
Although Summers worries for the health of her family and friends, she doesn’t try to convince them to quit using e-cigarettes.
“I’ve told them it’s bad before but I don’t stress on telling them to stop. Some are juuling so they won’t smoke cigarettes, others are not,” Summers said. “I don’t stress much on it because even though I don’t like it, it’s not my business or choice.”
According to Annals of Internal Medicine, 10.8 million adults in the U.S. are e-cigarette users. National College Health Assessment claims that of those 10.8 million e-cigarette users, 12.9 percent of them are college students.
In 2014, ULM enacted a ban on all tobacco products on campus and it is still in effect today.
If students, faculty, staff or visitors are caught using any tobacco product, even if it is smokeless, they will be given a verbal warning and resources to quit their tobacco use.
The ban also includes the use of e-cigarettes such as juuls which have become the most popular cigarette alternative in the past two years, according to the Truth Initiative.
Despite this ban, students can be seen vaping across campus when they think no one is around to watch.
ULM’s library was evacuated last Wednesday because of a rumored vaping incident where a student using an e-cigarette triggered the fire alarm.
However, according to ULM library director, Megan Lowe, it is possible this was not the cause.
“While our personnel suspects it may have been vaping, we have no definitive evidence to prove it,” Lowe said. “One would hate to make baseless accusations.”
Like many people, senior risk management insurance major Hunter Henson knows the possible dangers of e-cigarette usage but continues to use a juul anyways.
“I’ve seen some things lately saying how juuls can potentially be dangerous, but I’m young and dumb, so I’m not that worried about it,” Henson said. “By the time I graduate and move away, I’ll probably stop because it’s fine for college kids to juul but when actual adults do it’s a little weird.”
On the other hand, Summers, said the fact that so much about the effects of e-cigarettes is unknown, makes things like using a juul even more dangerous. Even though e-cigarettes can often be a good substitute for actual cigarettes, the unknown variable causes concerns.
“It gives you a replacement for nicotine but it’s still very harmful for you,” Summers said. “Especially since no one knows the long-term effects of it.”