Is it really any different?

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When people come onto this campus, they are greeted by signs that read, “San Antonio College is a smoke-free campus.”

A smoke-free campus is intended to protect the health of students, employees and visitors.

But don’t be surprised if you see puffs of smoke wafting through the air around campus. Those puffs are not smoke exhaled by users of traditional tobacco cigarettes but a mist of vapors created by electronic cigarettes.

Because e-cigarettes are promoted as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco, it is becoming more common to see “vapers” puffing outdoors and, worse, inside buildings.

According to the Food and Drug Administration at, “Electronic cigarettes are not emission-free” and “contain volatile organic substances, including propylene glycol, flavors and nicotine.”

Just because “vaping,” a term coined by e-cigarette users to describe inhaling vapors, is someone’s alternative to smoking tobacco doesn’t mean that it needs to be everyone else’s alternative to secondhand smoke.

Little is known about the side effects of the still relatively new e-cigarettes.

The emission may be a mist, but it should be treated like smoke and follow the same rules. When they were still tobacco smokers, “vapers” could not use tobacco products indoors so why would anyone think “vaping” should be allowed? Beyond the dangers of secondhand smoke, it is simply not cool to make others share your habit.

Some of the flavors for e-cigarettes create strong smells once vaporized. Just because you like the taste or smell of French toast doesn’t mean everyone else does, and it certainly doesn’t make it OK to fill a room with the odor because you need a hit of nicotine.

Easing off a nicotine habit is why most vapers picked up the habit in the first place, so use a little self-control and courteously wait until you are clear of others for your next puff.

What is OK in your home is often not OK in public. This is a college, not a hookah bar.


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