By Emily Macphail, January 8 2015 —
As of Nov. 2014, e-cigarette users at the University of Calgary can’t satisfy their cravings indoors.
The University of Calgary’s Smoking Policy now applies to any “electronic cigarette, personal vapourizer or electronic nicotine delivery system.”
U of C vice-president finance and services Linda Dalgetty approved the change after complaints related to “vaping” — a term referring to e-cigarette use — indoors.
Under the Smoking Policy, smoking of any kind isn’t allowed within 7.5 metres of indoor areas, particularly doors, windows and air intake locations.
Violations of the policy may result in penalties in accordance with either City of Calgary bylaws or the Non-Academic Misconduct Policy.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices made of stainless steel or plastic. They consist of a liquid-filled tank and an atomizer with a heating element. “E-juice” — the stuff you smoke — is composed of water, propylene glycol and flavouring.
Not all e-juices contain nicotine and you can often buy the same flavour with or without it.
Second-year U of C student Patrick Jones began using e-cigarettes as a way to smoke fewer cigarettes. Jones dislikes the ban, saying that e-cigs are less offensive to others in the area and won’t set off smoke alarms.
“Normal cigarettes are made with hundreds of chemicals such as rat poison, whereas e-cigarettes are not,” Jones said. “I think they are a great alternative. However, I feel as though they should be regulated to prevent adolescents from having access to fluids containing nicotine.”
E-cigarette’s health effects are not fully known. For nicotine-containing e-juice, one study found that it would take 30 puffs of a high-nicotine e-juice to inhale the amount of nicotine delivered in one puff of a cigarette.
However, another study found that for experienced users, nicotine absorption for e-cigarettes was similar to that of regular cigarettes.
The effect on bystanders is also unclear. Some studies show similar nicotine levels in non-smokers in a room containing cigarette smoke and one containing e-cigarette aerosol.
A Health Canada advisory issued in 2009 warned consumers “not to purchase or use electronic smoking products” due to their potential for negative health effects.
Physician and member of the University of Calgary’s Airway Inflammation Research Group Bob Cowie supports the ban. He indicated that no good data suggests they are useful in quitting smoking.
“We have no idea about the impact on health from e-cigarettes,” Cowie said.