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Skidmore College
 A Smoke-Free Campus

Frequently asked questions

Are other college tobacco-free?

Yes! Almost 50% of NYS colleges prohibit smoking on campus and over 70% of SUNY institutions are in some stage of the tobacco-free policy implementation process. As of November, there are at least 2,082 colleges that are 100% smoke-free.

Why is smokeless tobacco included on the policy?

Establishing a comprehensive policy that includes all forms of tobacco has better health outcomes, is more  equitable and easier to enforce. The policy consistently addresses health issues, because there is no safe form  of tobacco.

Am I in violation of the policy if I possess tobacco products?

No, the policy only governs use of tobacco products, not possession of tobacco products.

What products are prohibited by this policy?

Tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes (traditional and electronic), chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, hookah or waterpipe smoking, snuff and snus.

Is it not a right to smoke on campus?

No. There is no ‘right’ to smoke or use tobacco under either state or federal law. Court ruling maintain that smokers do not have the legal right to expose others to secondhand smoke and they are not entitled to protection against discrimination as ‘addicts’ or a ‘disabled persons.’

Fast Facts

  • There are more than 480,000 deaths each year in the US caused by cigarette use and secondhand smoke.
  • There are 1,300 deaths every single day from smoking.
  • 1 in 13 kids alive today will eventually die from tobacco use.
  • There are more than 4,800 chemicals in cigarettes.
  • Tobacco companies spend nearly $1 million an hour on marketing.
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the US.
  • Smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths in the US each year.
  • Smoking kills more Americans than alcohol, car crashes, AIDS, fires, heroin, cocaine, homicide and suicide
  • combined.
  • Smoking costs the US more than $333 billion per year in healthcare expenses.
  • 1 cigarette = 11 minutes off of your life.
  • Secondhand smoke causes 42,000 deaths in the US each year.
  • On average, smokers die 13—14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
  • 50% of people who try cigarettes in college still smoke 4 years later.

Vaping 101 - What every parent should know

There are hundreds of e-cigarette brands on the market, and they are now the most commonly used tobacco products among youth. Middle and high school students are increasingly using these battery-operated devices, often marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, to inhale nicotine, THC and various synthetic chemicals.

And that has health officials – and school officials – worried.

Inhaling liquid nicotine is concerning on its own, but vaping unknown and potentially more dangerous and damaging substances is even more so, they say – and parents need to be on the alert.

Is vaping safe?

Some people claim that vaping is less harmful than smoking, but “safer” does not equal safe. Nicotine – in any form – is a highly addictive drug. Teenage years are critical to brain development, which continues into adulthood. Vaping over a long period of time puts individuals at risk for negative longterm effects, including:

  • Damage to the brain, heart and lungs;
  • Cancerous tumor development; and
  • Pre-term deliveries and stillbirths in pregnant women.

What does an e-cigarette look like?

Many e-cigarettes and vaping devices look like everyday items – such as pens, asthma inhalers, iPods and lipstick tubes – which makes it easy to disguise their use. One popular vaping device that kids are bringing to school these days is the Juul vaporizer, which looks like a USB flash drive and can be charged by plugging it into a laptop. The Juul is small enough to conceal inside an enclosed hand and comes in eight different kid-appealing flavors. Packaging designs for some vaping liquids look a lot like popular candies, which could confuse some children and lead to accidental poisonings.

Vaping: What is it?

Vaping is the “act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, produced by an
e-cigarette or similar device,” according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA).

Vaping has become more popular among teens than regular cigarettes, especially since vaping devices can be used to inhale flavored substances – such as mint, crème brûlée or mango – and substances that contain nicotine or THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high.

E-cigarettes also can be used to vaporize opiates and synthetic substances.

What are the risks associated with vaping?

While researchers are still learning about the effects of e-cigarettes, some dangers are clear, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

  • Chemicals in e-liquids can be more concentrated and dangerous than chemicals in a cigarette.
  • Inhaling from a vape pen or e-cigarette that contains nicotine or THC could amplify the drug’s side effects.
  • The additional synthetic chemicals that make up e-liquids – such as synthetic marijuana – could expose the, lungs to a variety of chemicals, including carcinogens and toxic metal nanoparticles.
  • Chemicals from these devices can damage the inside of the mouth and create sores.

Are there any regulations to protect my children?

Currently, there are no safety regulations in place related to e-cigarettes. The FDA states that minors are not permitted to buy e-cigarettes in stores or online, but that doesn’t prevent an underage person from buying them online by simply clicking a button that says they are 21 or older.

In New York state, e-cigarettes are treated the same as regular cigarettes. Vaping is banned in all public spaces, including bars and restaurants, the workplace, on public transportation, inside all public and private schools and colleges, and in outdoor areas where smoking is forbidden.

Are nicotine-free e-cigarrettes safe?

Many teens – and adults – are under the impression that it’s safe to inhale nicotine-free water vapors, but recent studies say otherwise.

Much of the respiratory risk appears to come from the flavoring agents found in some e-cigarettes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When inhaled, these flavoring agents can cause “popcorn lung” – a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs that results in the thickening and narrowing of airways. Popcorn lung mirrors the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says e-cigarettes are not safe for young adults. Some of the risk comes from the aerosol itself, which can contain lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing agents.

What can parents do?

Find information about vaping and how to talk with your children about the risks here:

Did you know?

  • Half of middle school students who use e-cigarettes say they were the first type of tobacco product they ever used. Source: NCASA
  • More than 60 percent of teens believe occasional use of e-cigarettes causes only little or some harm. Source: U.S. Surgeon General
  • Many teenagers post photos on Instagram of themselves vaping or holding vaping devices. Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

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