By Mercedes Cannon, Rachel Hanna and Alexander Zepeda
Hospitalizations and reports of death are not deterring college students from vaping, a recent on-campus study about the popularity of the trend found.
Data compiled by the Center for Disease Control revealed that in 49 states there are over 2,000 reported cases of lung injuries resulting from the use of e-cigarettes or vaping. In 24 states, the CDC confirmed 42 deaths nationwide, with four dead in California.
Trevor Bell, a public relations professor at Long Beach State, teaches a research methods course and his class conducted a survey on vaping with 132 participants who vape.
Bell said his goals for the study were to learn why college students and adolescents vape, what the perceptions of the ill effects of vaping are and to raise awareness about vaping issues.
“I think what we were most surprised by was people knew it was unhealthy, they knew that it was addictive, so they knew that it was harmful,” Bell said.
In the interviews conducted for the study, Bell said students said the dangers of vaping did not deter them. Instead, those interviewed credited the symptoms to other circumstances.
After the survey, Bell said the most interesting feedback he received was that stress is the main reason people choose to vape, and social vaping isn’t popular among college students.
“Only about 30% of our sample said that they vape because their friends vape,” Bell said.
In the survey, students were asked about the health risks involved with vaping. Most said they knew it could be bad, but it doesn’t deter them.
Bell said 63% of the students surveyed recognized that vaping negatively affects their health.
Angela Kight, a third-year public relations major, assisted in the creation of the survey.
Kight found it compelling that over 60% of students who vape know that vaping is bad for their health.
“Upon learning this news, approximately 20% of students said they were ‘extremely unlikely’ to stop using vaping products,” Kight said.
According to the survey, most students are aware that CSULB is a smoke and vape-free campus, yet continue to vape on campus.
Kight said that awareness isn’t the issue when it comes to solving the vaping issue. Kight would like to see an increase in security personnel throughout the campus to check common smoking areas. Having an authoritative figure could discourage students from vaping, she said.
Victoria, a food science major, declined to give her last name because she vapes on campus, despite the ban, and “isn’t proud of it.” She said she vapes as a stress reliever because it’s available and convenient. She often does it when she is spending long hours doing homework and lab reports as well.
Victoria knows vaping is her choice and said the flavors make a difference because “nicotine tastes bad.”
“I know it’s bad for me, I looked up journalism stuff about why it’s bad for you,” she said. “When I think about why it’s bad for me, I try to use it less.”