58°F & Clear 7 day forecast Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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​Vaping banned just in case

Between mutterings of “back in my day”, and something about “rap music”, the Federal Government has saw it fit to announce ecigarettes as its next target for regulation, presumably gesturing to its great successes in financial market regulation before the Great Recession or perhaps its efficient control of illicit drugs. Not to be preempted, the powers that be at GVSU have preemptively banned “electronic cigarettes” “[d]uring the interim” between now and when actual research on the topic has confirmed their views, a demonstration of the typical scientific method.

Maybe I should just be thankful our Senior Management Team has admitted a lack of knowledge. NPR can’t make it through a article without mentioning that some eliquids are candy flavored (gasp!), and still others fruit flavored (the audacity!). Yet still I can’t help but think that me and my kind aren’t wanted here, having our toys taken from us “just in case”. What research there is on the topic has indicated the existence of ultrafine particles in the vapor, which may be harmful for asthmatics. The nicotine content of secondhand vapor, however, is ten times less than that of secondhand tobacco smoke. And nicotine is the only harmful compound we know is in all eliquids. In other words, the jury is still out, but the ruling is in at this University.

Much has been made of ecigarettes capacity to help conventional smokers quit being so conventional. In terms of bringing them into the ranks of hipsterdom, I think their success is indisputable. What no one has mentioned is that smoking outside in the frigid winter (although lately less so) sucks. A principal advantage ecigarettes had over tobacco was the comfort of being able to get your fix inside. In banning all use of ecigarettes indoors, we have exchanged some vapor sessions for some Marlboro huddles. This is trading unconfirmed dangers for proven ones.

I will be the first to admit that vaping needs additional research, and it is the vapist’s responsibility to determine the politeness of a puff. You won’t find me blowing vapor at a professor’s face anytime soon. But why should we cut short these glory days on the grounds of something we don’t know? Especially when plenty of studies are still finding no significant risks, let’s not begrudge others a bit of fun.



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