Young people, former smokers move towards e-cigarette use

Store owner, former smoker says it is good cigarette alternative



Shane Brooks, owner of Clandestine Vapes in Pullman, says he feels a lot healthier after switching from smoking to vaping. However, Professor Joshua Jacobs says smoking alternatives are not necessarily safer.

JIWON LEE, Evergreen contributor

WSU implemented a nicotine ban on campus in fall of 2016, but that has not deterred all smokers.

The university is not the only place trying to regulate vaping and e-cigarette use. National news outlets such as The New York Times have reported Food and Drug Administration crackdowns on Juul and other e-cigarette companies due to the popularity of their products among teenagers.

British American Tobacco (BAT), the company behind the e-cigarette glo, funded a study which went beyond previous research and showed vaping was less harmful than traditional smoking. In the study, the researchers tested human airway cells that had been damaged due to exposure to traditional cigarette smoke.

The researchers separated the cells into two groups: one that continued its exposure to traditional cigarette smoke and the other that was exposed to glo’s vapor. After two weeks of exposure to glo’s vapor, the damaged cells showed signs of repair.

Shane Brooks, owner of Clandestine Vapes in Pullman, agreed with the study. He said he used to smoke one and a half packs of cigarettes per day for more than 20 years. He switched to vaping and said his health has improved noticeably.

“I can breathe again,” Brooks said. “I can taste again.”

He said many of his customers claim similar health benefits.

Although Brooks vapes and promotes its health benefits, he said he strongly disagrees with big companies like Juul. He said he believes in the importance of personalizing the vaping experience for each person and does not agree with the big companies’ tactics for promoting the products to young customers.

Brooks said vaping is a way to transition out of cigarette use, so he does not suggest vaping to young people if they have never smoked cigarettes in the first place.

Joshua Jacobs, chair and clinical professor of the Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences in WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, said BAT’s study has its agenda and many shortcomings.

“To jump to conclusion that it’s safe is premature,” Jacobs said.

He said other studies have found vaping serves as a gateway to traditional smoking, which defeats the purpose of a healthy alternative.

Even vaping devices that do not contain any nicotine can be harmful, Jacobs said. The human body is evolved only to take in water vapor, pollen and other dust in the environment, he said.

“Purposely introducing aerosolized chemicals circumvents our natural defenses,” Jacobs said.

Even with water like those in no-nicotine devices, if it is thick and sustained enough there can be pathological changes, he said.

Jacobs said he does not pass moral judgment onto the companies because the market is driven by demands, but said targeting young adults is irresponsible.

Given that vaping is relatively new, especially compared to traditional smoking, he said there could be more health issues that will come with time.