What are universities doing to help students quit vaping? Source: Shutterstock

The US vaping epidemic is becoming a serious matter, with a significant rise in the number of reported vape-related illnesses and deaths. The seventh death due to vaping was just announced yesterday, and there has reportedly been around 380 cases of lung illnesses in the country.

Since e-cigarette use only really became popular in recent years, the long-term effects are only being seen now.

The problem has become so bad that certain US states such as New York have announced a ban on most flavours of e-cigarettes.

According to a recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than a quarter of today’s high school students call themselves users of e-cigarettes.

As CNN reported, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking closely at the different flavored nicotine juices and other substances users may be vaping in e-cigarettes to determine how the aerosol might be affecting users’ lungs.”

In the US, vaping is also called Juuling. Juul is a type of e-cigarette that has a discreet and slim design, making it popular among the youth as they can easily hide it from their parents.

So how are universities helping college students quit the habit, or deterring them from picking it up in the first place?

More universities are banning vaping on campus

Most universities across US have banned tobacco products, but many are now updating their policies to include e-cigarettes.

Instead of punishing students for vaping, universities in Montana are reminding them that their campuses are tobacco-free, which includes e-cigarettes.

According to ABC, “Montana State University has had a tobacco-free campus policy for the last seven years, and that ban has always included cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes.

“Students don’t have to look far for a reminder of the rules, with “Tobacco Free MSU” signs posted at each of the campus entrances.”

The University of Montana has the same tobacco-free campus policy, adding vaping products such as e-cigarettes and vaping liquids to the ban last year.

In Canada, e-cigarette use among youth is also rising, urging a growing number of universities to implement smoke-free policies that include vaping.

According to The Globe and Mail, “Dalhousie University in Halifax was among the first to make its campus 100 per cent smoke-free, in 2003. Those that have followed include the University of Regina, McMaster University in Hamilton and George Brown College in Toronto.”

Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said, “We’ve seen the feasibility at various colleges and universities doing it, which then prompts encouragement to nearby institutions to do the same thing.

“That’s positive because not only is there protection from second-hand smoke, but it’s a great motivator for smokers to quit because it’s less convenient.”

Students need help to quit vaping

Although banning e-cigarettes on campus is a good idea, it doesn’t stop students using them at home or off-campus.

A number of universities offer cessation workshops to help students give up the habit for good. At the University of Michigan, students, faculty and staff can receive free one-on-one cessation counseling through Tobacco Consultation Services via the Smoke-Free University Initative .

They can also get free nicotine replacement products which help students quit vaping and e-cigarette use.

Students need more awareness and education over the negative health effects of vaping and cigarettes. There are concerns that if more states ban e-cigarettes, people will go back to cigarettes which is counter-productive.

The UK has a different approach to student vaping

On the other side of the pond, using e-cigarettes is not seen as such a serious issue in the UK, but is actually encouraged as a way to help people give up smoking cigarettes.

According to CNN, “In the UK, there doesn’t appear to be an outbreak of vaping-related sickness. Neither has vaping’s popularity soared among young people who never smoked.

“Rather, e-cigarettes have been embraced mostly as a way for adults to quit combustible cigarettes. Indeed, health authorities in the UK stand by their support for e-cigarettes as a cessation tool.”

A spokesperson for Public Health England said, “Similar choice of flavors exist in the US and UK and yet we do not have the same levels of youth vaping here. Our much lower rates are due to our much stricter advertising regulations and possibly our lower nicotine cap.”

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