Continuing research recognizes possible health risks
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
As of November 5, Douglas College has prohibited electronic cigarettes inside campuses. Electronic cigarettes and similar devices are now restricted to the designated smoking areas at each campus.
“We have included e-cigarettes in our Restricted Smoking Policy,” said Nancy Constable, Douglas’ director of safety, security, and risk management. The policy was recently updated recognizing that e-cigarettes are associated with their own health risks.
“Health authorities such as the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the Lung Association, US Food & Drug Administration, to name a few, have not, at this time, given the nod of approval to e-cigarettes,” said Constable. “More studies are required to better understand the toxicology and the impact on the health of those who are exposed to second-hand vapours and side-stream vapours from e-cigarettes.”
Constable added that a number of other Canadian post-secondary institutions have implemented similar restrictions regarding e-cigarettes.
In October, the city of Vancouver banned the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces. Health concerns over e-cigarettes that contain nicotine and uncertainty with long-term effects were deciding factors in the ruling.
In January, Canadian Living published a piece titled “Are electronic cigarettes safe?” outlining the known safety hazards of e-cigarettes, as well as some benefits. The article reaffirms that e-cigarettes are to help smokers get over their addiction or habit by offering a less harmful alternative. However, another concern in the article is “particulate matter,” which e-cigarette users inhale when smoking, regardless of nicotine presence.
E-cigarettes are also popular in high schools, with various school boards across BC banning their presence within school grounds back in February. In a memo from the Vancouver School Board on the matter, the board states, “The health impact of repeatedly inhaling e‐cigarette chemicals is unknown, and students or staff exposed to e‐cigarette vapour may be at risk of asthma attacks or other lung irritations.” The Vancouver ruling also prohibits sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Vancouver is the fourth city in Canada to recognize e-cigarettes as cigarettes, following York, Ontario; Red Deer, Alberta; and Hantsport, Nova Scotia.
The New West campus has two designated smoking areas. One is outside the fourth floor entrance, 10 metres away from the theatre foyer doors and 10 metres away from the Douglas Students’ Union building doors. The other is east of the staircase by the outdoor water fountain.
David Lam has one designated smoking area, located outside the A-B building near the southeast ramp.
For more information, students can view the Restricted Smoking Policy online at goo.gl/1gpAui