Electronic cigarettes, the new craze, are thought to be dangerous by many. However, with a lack of publicized information regarding possible dangers and legalities, many teenagers and even some St. Paul’s students use these devices despite the fact that the school has a strict no tobacco or any type of cigarette policy.
Early in the school year, Dean of Students Ken Sears issued a warning on announcements to students that anyone caught selling, using, or possessing electronic cigarettes, commonly known as E-cigarettes, will face consequences with the school. According to Sears, E-cigarette usage became a problem around the end of last school year.
According to Troy Hebert, Head of the Firearm and Tobacco Department in Louisiana, the laws in Louisiana do not technically stop minors from purchasing E-cigarettes, as reported by Vermilion Today.
“It still injects nicotine in the body which is very addictive and not good for you,” Sears said.
But, current laws in Louisiana regarding E-cigarettes are ambiguous at best.
“All of the laws reference to tobacco and not electronic cigarettes, which does not have tobacco,” Hebert said. “Technology has gotten past the laws. Our laws have not kept up.”
Despite what Hebert said, according to a local E-Cigarette shop, Create-a-Cig, it is illegal for them to sell to minors.
“The nicotine solution our products use is a derivative of tobacco and it is considered a tobacco product, so the FDA and the Louisiana ATC are making it illegal, at least in Louisiana, to sell electronic cigarettes to minors,” a representative of Create-a-Cig said. “In fact we are required by law to have a tobacco license to sell our products.”
Because E-cigarettes lack the smoke component, many users mistakenly believe E-cigarettes are a better and “healthier” alternative to actual cigarettes.
“I don’t think E-cigarettes are bad for you because it is just water vapor, unlike actual cigarettes which have tobacco,” an underage anonymous source that smokes E-cigarettes said.
According to the Huffington Post, however, E-cigarettes contain carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals such as diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze. Another study reported on by Medical News Today noted that E-cigarettes increase breathing difficulty to both smokers and non-smokers who use E-cigarettes.