In recent years, the use of vape products has rapidly increased from 7 million Americans in 2011 to 41 million in 2019, and just over one billion users globally. The increase has brought harmful health related incidences, including 12 cases of vaping-related lung disease in Washington state.
On October 10th, Washington state enacted a ban on the sale of flavored vaping products. Washington secretary of health John Wiesman described the ban as a response to the youth vaping epidemic as well as the increasing outbreaks of vaping associated lung injury throughout the country.
Back in September, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced an executive order directing Washington’s Department of Health to adopt emergency rules to ban all flavored vaping products including those that contain nicotine and THC, two ingredients that have been linked to vaping-related harm.
Additionally, Inslee stated that the health board’s next step on this topic is to draft governor-requested legislation for 2020 that would permanently ban all flavored vaping products, require disclosure of all ingredients in products, increase the regulatory oversight of these products, limit bulk sales and expand an educational campaign.
Those against the vaping ban argue that many people vape to quit smoking and banning vaping will only cause an increased use of cigarettes and tobacco products. These products have long been shown to have harmful health effects. However, evidence shows that vaping has become a much larger epidemic, and people who didn’t use cigarette products before are now using vapes and being exposed to health risks they would not have otherwise.
Dangers of Flavored Vaping Products
Flavored vaping products are one of the primary reason for the youth vaping epidemic, as 97% of youth vape users report using a flavored product in the past month and 70% list flavors as the reason for their use.
Most Toxic Flavors:
- Cinnamon: chemicals that damage white blood cells and impair the lungs’ ability to get rid of mucus
- Vanilla: chemical linked to cell death, impair blood vessel function
- Buttered Popcorn: chemical called diacetyl, which has been linked to irreversible lung diseases
Western to Implement New Smoke-Free Campus Policy
Western Washington University is in the process of transitioning to a more restrictive policy for smoking on campus. The goal of this change is to encourage and increase positive health outcomes for our campus community. The new policy is under development and will be implemented in the fall of 2021 and includes a decision to restrict smoking on campus to designated areas only. Smoking includes the use of electronic cigarettes, devises and vaping. The newly formed Smoke-Free Campus Committee (SFCC) is working on creating an education, communication and implementation plan for the new policy that will include identifying designated smoking area locations.