Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00
Due to the recent buzz surrounding the use of e-cigarettes by minors, the Island Trees School District Board of Education recently voted to enact a campus-wide ban of electronic cigarette use by students, teachers, parents, faculty and staff.
Although marketed as a means to help people quit smoking, e-cigarettes still contain all the addictive properties of the traditional cigarette.
“It is promoted as an alternative to cigarettes, but it is really not,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “It is the same thing, basically, as smoking... this isn’t a healthy alternative.”
In a letter to parents, members of the Board of Education cite a recent study by the Center for Tobacco Research and Education at the University of California, which shows that E-cigarettes may actually encourage teens to smoke.
According to lead researcher Dr. Lauren Dutra, “E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth.”
Dutra argues that manufacturers of the electronic cigarette have included alluring flavors, such as bubble gum, cherry, or coffee, which appeal to the youth community. The study also showed that since E-cigarettes contain the same addicting properties as tobacco, it didn’t take long for teens to develop a nicotine dependency and move on to the traditional cigarette.
“Young people don’t understand,” Murphy said, “It seems harmless, but actually it contains water vapor laced with nicotine.”
Another study by the national Center for Disease Control showed that the number of calls to posion control centers involving e-cigarette liquids rose from one per month in Sept. 2010 to a total of 215 per month last February. According to the CDC, poisioning from e-cigarettes can occur either through ingestion, inhalation or absorbtion through the skin or eyes.
“Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “E-cigarette liquids, as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”
In addition to prohibiting the use of e-cigs by the student population, the district said its policy will also extend to adults in the community and visitors on school grounds.
Murphy said that among the changes to the school policy, education is the most critical aspect, which requires that students discuss the dangers of e-cigarettes, tobacco and addiction in their health classes.