Toxic metals found in e-cigarettes

West Covina residents Marty Vigil, Gary Bruner and Ray Marquez, sit at the”juice bar” at the West Covina e-cigarette and vaporizer store, Vapor Devils, located at 500 N. Azusa Ave. #111, West Covina. Vigil, Bruner, and Marquez sample from a variety of e-liquids, or”juices,” and recommend their favorites to each other. All three are regular customers of Vapor Devils, which opened a year and a half ago just as electronic cigarettes and vapor pens, portable vaporizers, were becoming popular. Photo by/ Daniel Torres
West Covina residents Marty Vigil, Gary Bruner and Ray Marquez, sit at the”juice bar” at the West Covina e-cigarette and vaporizer store, Vapor Devils, located at 500 N. Azusa Ave. #111, West Covina. Vigil, Bruner, and Marquez sample from a variety of e-liquids, or”juices,” and recommend their favorites to each other. All three are regular customers of Vapor Devils, which opened a year and a half ago just as electronic cigarettes and vapor pens, portable vaporizers, were becoming popular. / photo by Daniel Torres

Kellie Galentine
LV Life Editor

A study done by professors at the University of Southern California revealed that electronic cigarette, or e-cigarettes, reduce the exposure of particular particles by tenfold in comparison to regular cigarettes. In an informal student survey taken at the University of La Verne, five out of 18 students said that they have smoked an e-cigarette.

The study published Aug. 22 by the Journal of Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts said that despite the decrease in harmful particles like tobacco, there is an increase in certain metals in the second hand smoke of e-cigarettes.

“I think that the problem everyone is concerned about are the other toxins in the e-cigarettes, the biggest ones being the chromium and the nickel, and they don’t know what kind of harm that is going to produce,” said Cynthia Denne, director of student health services.

Most of those on campus who have smoked e-cigarettes feel they are not addicting.

“I don’t think it is so much addicting but the e-cigarette in general is more about the comfort of having something there,” said Marc Okimura, senior theater major.

An e-cigarette is a device filled with a nicotine-based solution that is vaporized and inhaled to mimic a real cigarette. There are also many flavored solutions available for purchase such as cherry, strawberry, cookies and cream or watermelon to name a few.

“There probably are negative health effects and people don’t consider the levels of nicotine when they talk about how safe they are,” Stephanie Fugit, junior political science major, said.

”They are addicting and vapor is actually worse for you so I don’t think they are safe.”

Students on campus like Christian Garay, junior kinesiology major, think that e-cigarettes are a growing trend among the younger generation.

“It is equally as dangerous,” Garay said. ”Just because it is not a real cigarette doesn’t mean it isn’t addicting.”

Currently, the ban of e-cigarettes is a controversial topic among different cities around the world. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation as of July 3 there are 188 local laws nation wide restricting e-cigarette use in 100 percent smoke free venues.

The University’s no-smoking policy on campus includes electronic cigarettes. Overall, there is a large gap in the information base about e-cigarettes.

“If you are going to make that choice to smoke an e-cigarette, then you need to know what the upside and downside is,” Denne said. “And they don’t know all of the downside yet—they are just beginning to study that.”

“We know what we know about tobacco and look at what a problem it has caused so I would say to then want to explore an e-cigarette just doesn’t make sense to me,” she said.

As for now, while more information is collected and more studies are done, those who already smoke e-cigarettes are willing to take the risk of the unknown.

“Everything has a downside, but for the time being, it is what it is,” Okimura said.

Kellie Galentine can be reached at kellie.galentine@laverne.edu.

Daniel Torres

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