By Mary-Katherine Kaven
Vaping, it’s becoming more and more prevalent on campus. Vaping is commonly considered the better alternative to cigarettes, so now, college students are steadily picking up the habit. However, the Director of UWF Wellness Dr. Alicia Cambron believes that the lesser of two evils is still evil.
“Although vaping may appear to be less harmful than smoking, the research is really not there yet,” Cambron said. “We are seeing a large rise in cases of popcorn lung, cough, and lung issues.”
The CDC published an announcement warning the public to take caution when using vapes. Currently, their main advisory to the public is to avoid street sold or modified e-cigarette products as they can be contaminated with deadly products. This fact is congruent with Cambron’s thoughts on the topic. Cambron also suggests that students don’t purchase vape cartridges off of the street.
Regardless of the opinions surrounding vaping, UWF has its own policy on vaping.
“At UWF, vaping in any form is not allowed,” Cambron said, “If students are considering vaping as a way to stop smoking cigarettes, Wellness Services does not support vaping as an alternative.”
UWF has been a tobacco-free campus since 2016. That means all tobacco emitting products cannot be consumed on UWF property, resident halls, nature trails, parking lots, etc. Products used to consume tobacco and smoke of any kind are banned in all resident halls as well as recreation fields and buildings. If you are caught using tobacco on campus, you can face consequences.
Consequences can range from a verbal warning to a fine. Usually, it takes multiple offenses to receive a fine as the most common disciplinary action is an educational course. However, the Dean of Students Office, Housing and Residence Life, and UWF Police all operate independently and have individual procedures, so cases can vary.
If you are looking to quit smoking or vaping, resources are available. UWF Student Health Services (bldg. 960) and Wellness (temporarily in bldg. 72) offer services to those seeking to quit these harmful habits. The FDA has approved several methods for quitting. These products are regulated and often discounted, if not available for free.You can find the link to the CDC advisory here: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html