College smokers turn to vaping after quitting


According to a 2016 survey by the Centers for Disease Control, 9 million college-aged students use e-cigarettes. Photo by Brandon Hamilton

Sarah Noble, Social Media Manager

Liza Michelle Bedlin, a third-year transfer studies student, said she always enjoyed the occasional cigarette at a party, but never intended to make smoking a daily habit.

It was only when she was waiting in line at a Sunoco Mini Mart, ready to buy a carton of Marlboro Golds for the very first time, that she decided to end her bad habit.

Instead of purchasing the cigarettes, she bought a vape pen.

“I went home and used it all afternoon,” Bedlin said. “At first it was a little hard to get into, but I quit smoking cigarettes that day.”

Bedlin is just one of the 9 million college-aged students who vape—or use e-cigarettes—according to a 2016 survey by the Centers for Disease Control. Vaping is the use of a handheld electronic cigarette.

It works by heating a liquid—also known as “vape juice”—to create a vapor for the user to inhale, according to Loretta Lawson-Munsey, the substance abuse education supervisor at AACC.

Vape pens are about the same size as regular ink pens and have a plastic shell, a tank that holds vape juice, a button for the user to hold down while inhaling vapor and a USB charging port.

Users determine if they want their vape juice to contain nicotine or not, but if the juice does not contain nicotine, it is not addictive.

Vaping can reduce stress and is a “good way to quit smoking cigarettes,” said Lawson-Munsey.

Because it is against campus policy to smoke anything—a vape pen or a cigarette—Bedlin does not smoke on campus.

Students found smoking or vaping on campus are given a verbal warning. Then, they pay a fine.

However, students can smoke, without penalties, in their cars with the windows rolled up or down, according to Police Chief Sean Kapfhammer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 10 Americans vapes and 80 percent started vaping to quit smoking cigarettes.

Research on the second-hand effects of vaping has been minimal, according to Lawson-Munsey.

No matter how the research on the effects of vaping long-term turns out, Bedlin doesn’t plan on stopping her daily practice.

“It’s just too enjoyable to quit,” Bedlin said.