The LA Times reported that the California assembly has banned the use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) from all California State University and Community Colleges starting in 2018. Patrick McGreevy wrote the article “Assembly votes to ban tobacco use on all state college campuses.” This ban follows a University of California system ban on tobacco in 2014.
The CA legislature based its decisions on a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that highlighted the dangers of e-cigs, listing lung cancer, heart and COPD among the diseases related to smoking. Tom Frieden, MD is the director of the CDC. He focuses on tobacco and e-cigs as the cause of more deaths in the US than any other disease.
Tobacco still kills more Americans than any other cause. It still kills more than 1,000 people a day. As a doctor, I can tell you it kills them in really unpleasant ways — gasping for breath with emphysema, with cancer, with heart disease.I see the industry getting another generation of our kids addicted. To me, as a physician, when 1.78 million of our high school kids have tried an e-cigarette and a lot of them are using them regularly … that’s like watching someone harm hundreds of thousands of children.
The LA Times article quotes CDC statistics on tobacco use and effects.
More than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States are smoking related, according to the national center, which said another 2.5 million people have died from health problems caused by second-hand smoke since 1964.
Although smoking declined from 20.9% to 16.8% between 2005 and 2014, the use of electronic cigarettes and hookahs is increasing among young people, health officials said.
Under the “deeming rule”, the FDA is in the latter stages of extending its control of e-cigarette sales, with prohibition of sales to minors and nicotine warning labels on e-cig packaging. This is expected to occur in 2016 because it is being done as an extension of current laws, and does not require new legislation. Some members of Congress have attempted to restrict the FDA despite the conclusions of health professionals that e-cigs are not effective devices to stop smoking. E-cigs are clearly a gateway to smoking conventional tobacco products by minors and young adults, with the fastest growing e-cig market with minors and young adults.
California has been a leader in many areas of public health and safety. The California university system is the largest in the US, with 399 learning institutions. This action will be viewed by other states as a guideline to improving student health across college campuses. The inclusion of e-cigs in this legislation will slow the growth of e-cig use on college campuses. The California legislation has authorized colleges to fine students $100 for breaking the rules, with the money used for tobacco cessation information.