Following University of Limerick’s President Dr Des Fitzgerald’s announcement that vaping on campus will banned , people in the UCC community are calling out for a similar action to be carried out, to restrict the usage of the addictive devices. The announcement came following Dr Fitzgerald, a professor of molecular medicine’s view that vaping was ‘’a real health risk and is being directly implicated in the health crisis and even [causing] deathsamong users.’’
Vaping, a considerably recent phenomenon across the globe, has been subject to negative backlash in recent months due to health reports which have been made publically known. Just a little over two weeks it was reported that a man in his 40s died from the use of e-cigarettes. The man in question, had no previous lung illness and was considered to be in reasonable health prior to his decision to start vaping in May 2019.
Unlike the dangers of the traditional cigarette, vapes and their flavoured products have little scientific research to prove that they are healthier than the tobacco filled cigarette. A study published by Environmental Science and Technology in July 2016 identified ‘’harmful emissions in the vapour, including possible carcinogens and irritants.’’
Additionally, it is believed that vaping can lead to a rise in free radicals and a reduction in antioxidants within the body, which increases the risk of plaque build-up in the artery walls, which can result in cardiac arrest. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, heart disease is already one of the biggest killers in Ireland and fears that vaping will continue to add to this
Dr Fitzgerald has called on the Minister for Education and Skills to take action against the battery-powered devices across all educational institutes. In his opinion, more and more young people are finding themselves susceptible to the marketing of the flavoured products, as well as the low cost and aggressive marketing. Most shopping centres and towns across the country tend to have at least one vaping vender available to the public.
Countries such as Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand have already banned the use of vapourised cigarettes, while Canada and Norway have heavily restricted its usage amongst the population.
Chris Macey, head of advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation, says ‘’after successfully reducing the number of people smoking, the risk now is that a whole new generation will become addicted to nicotine.’’ In the US, it is reported that 1 in 5 high school students use e-cigarettes.
As educational institutes promote health and wellbeing amongst its students, one must wonder if it is now time that fresh legislation regarding e-cigarettes is brought forward, following in the footsteps of University of Limerick.