Smoking cigarettes is nothing new for Temple students, and the community has continued efforts to reduce the practice around Main Campus.
But a new player on Temple’s tobacco scene may help do just that: vaping.
Vaping is the common term for using an e-cigarette or vaporizer, which heats liquid to produce vapor the user inhales. The vapor, which can be odorless or scented, allows users to get their nicotine without the tobacco.
Krysta Decker, a sophomore kinesiology major who smokes, said she sees people vaping on campus “all the time.”
Many people have turned to vaping as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, like Colby Meyer, a senior broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media major. He smoked cigarettes for a year, prior to quitting six months ago when he started to vape.
“[Vaping] doesn’t smell and I like the taste, plus, all the health problems with smoking,” Meyer said.
Joe Yu, manager of Vapordelphia, a smoke shop on 9th Street near South where students can buy vaping products, is a former smoker, and shared Meyer’s reasons for switching.
“I stopped smoking around the time when we opened up the store, which is around like two years ago now,” Yu said. “I was a pack, a pack-and-a-half a day smoker. [Vaping] is definitely a lot better because I can definitely breathe a lot better now … and I can sleep through the night now and I don’t have to hack up a lung.”
Although many start vaping to quit smoking, there are users who see it more as a recreational activity.
“There is a recreational side … there are some [people who vape] that never smoked cigarettes,” Yu said.
Yu added the age group for Vapordelphia’s customers ranges from college-aged to people in their 60s or 70s, suggesting a wide breadth of appeal for several demographics.
Meyers agreed, saying cigarettes are looked down upon more by the public with the presence of vaping.
E-cigarettes, still new to the market, have not yet faced much regulation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated in an article that “little is actually known yet about the health risks of using these devices.”
Bradley Collins, an associate professor in the College of Public Health, believes vaping should not be assumed to be much safer than smoking.
“There does not appear to be any evidence that e-cigarettes or vaping is safe,” Collins said. “Many of the same carcinogens in tobacco smoke are also found in e-cigarette vapor, including traces of heavy metals.”
City authorities have also expressed concerns about vaping’s health effects and how the city and state should handle taxing such products. In April 2014, Mayor Nutter signed a bill that outlawed sales of the products to minors and prohibited vaping in workplaces, bars, restaurants and similar public venues.
Ashley Mease, a senior psychology major at Temple and a student that smokes cigarettes, commented on the role vaping has in society and the appeal of its culture.
“It is super trendy—everyone is doing it,” Mease said.
Grace Shallowe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.