Vaping: Are we in denial?

By Sierra Snigier

To vape, or not to vape? The question about whether to vape arises due to recent reports about a correlation between lung injuries and vaping.

In a statement recently released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it was confirmed that there is an increase in lung injuries due to vaping. There are currently 1,080 vaping-related cases and 18 confirmed deaths.

Vaping is popular among college students, and Penn State Altoona students are no exception. However, not all students think this trend is worth the health risks.

Alyssa Glotfelty (sophomore, environmental studies) said, “We don’t listen to science as much as we used to. We are in denial and it’s an ignorance thing. We don’t want to believe it has this correlation.”

Penn State Altoona’s Director of Student Affairs Sean Kelly said, “Everyone should be concerned about it. I have been around long enough to know the dangers of nicotine and some of the other additives that are put into cigarettes and now vaping devices.”

The CDC warned of additives such as THC, diacetyl (a flavorant), metals and others. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just recently banned the use of flavor in e-cigarettes and vapes. Pete Manger (freshman, undecided) said that he doesn’t think flavorants should be banned because the suspected main cause of problems is THC. Manger said that the news doesn’t change his opinion and he will continue to vape.

Myranda Mamat (junior, English) disagrees. She is concerned about the hidden ingredients in vapes. “I think that’s what brings it to the table is that you don’t really know what is in it, you just know it tastes good,” Mamat said.

JUUL Labs, marketer of “juuls” and vapes, is the target of multiple class-action lawsuits under allegations that the marketing focuses on minors.

Ceara McGill (senior, psychology) said, “It has been marketed in a way that makes it popular. If you don’t do it, you’re like excluded.”

McGill said that a solution would be to fix the marketing and stop advertising to younger kids. McGill said her friend tried quitting, but JUUL released a new pen in a different color and it was tempting for her friend who continued “juuling.”

Penn State recently implemented a no-smoking policy on all campuses. The ban includes e-cigarettes and vapes. Mamat said that smoking on campus was a problem last year, but the policy has helped.

Matt Garrett (freshman, undecided) said, “I haven’t seen too many people yet (juuling). It’s not a huge thing down here.”

However, Garrett’s friend Melanie Wilkinson is a student at the University of Pittsburgh and says vaping is “very popular” at her university. She said she sees vaping around campus everywhere. Recently, Pitt hosted a health fair where pamphlets on vaping were handed out. Wilkinson said, “Everyone just thinks it’s a joke.”

In the midst of the vaping controversy, the Pennsylvania Department of Health just confirmed its first death due to vaping in the state.

Leave a Reply