Almost all college students nowadays can relate to the scenario of sitting in class and suddenly seeing a cloud of smoke followed by a fruity or minty smell.
Vaping on college campuses has become a trend and it is tremendously damaging the health of many students across the country.
According to a survey by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 44.3% of young adults ages 18 through 24 who are current e-cigarette users were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.
What could have caused this problem? Why are young adults using a product designed for past cigarette smokers, when they have never been smokers before that?
Nurse practitioner at Seton Hall University, Kathleen Hynes-Lifland, believes there are multiple things that could have caused this spike in vaping.
“It’s easy, it is so easily accessible,” she said when asked about what she thinks caused the vaping epidemic. “Unfortunately, it is marketed to young adults, and they think it makes them look cool, so they do it.”
Kathleen Hynes-Lifland has been a nurse practitioner for the 25 years. Working on a college campus, she has never seen something similar to the vaping trend amongst students, besides possibly the measles epidemic years ago.
She has never had a patient who suffered from the effects of vaping, but she said she can definitely see that there is a problem.
“In the past, we used to just ask patients if they frequently used tobacco,” Hynes-Lifland said. “Now, that list has added vaping, as well as marijuana.
Hynes-Lifland cannot help a student who is not open and honest about their health.
“We always have to make it a point to ask the student,” said Hynes-Lifland. “If they lie, then oh well, it is only further harming their health,” she said about her experience with students.
Hynes-Lifland also believes universities across the country can do something to help improve the vaping problem for college students.
“First, you have to make sure the staff is aware of the problem,” Hynes-Lifland said. “But now-a-days, almost everyone knows about how harmful vaping is just from the news. There also has to be honesty between the students and the staff, so that the staff can do what is necessary to help them.”
Hynes-Lifland was not optimistic that the problem would be solved.
Hynes-Lifland said, “It is an overall bad habit to pick up. The only thing someone could do to help their nicotine problem is to just stay away from it.”
Jillian Luptor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.