MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are new calls to ban e-cigarette flavors amid the growing vaping mystery.
The apparent risk from vaping hasn’t proven strong enough to get many young users to quit, but college campuses are trying a different tactic.
“It’s just disappointing that we were raised against nicotine and against cigarettes, and our generation was so for that,” said student Nicole Higgins. “And then all of a sudden this fad started.”
The fad of vaping is something that Higgins, a freshman at Macalester College, used to do.
“I got into it and realized I don’t want to be addicted at 18 to anything,” Higgins said.
Emily Anderson with the Association for Non-Smokers helped ban tobacco at Macalester in 2015. But now, there’s a resurgence of nicotine use among college students vaping.
“Here in the metro we’ve worked with several campuses to go tobacco-free,” Anderson said. “For the first time in 17 years, because of electronic cigarettes, we’ve seen the use of nicotine and tobacco products go up among our young people.”
Macalester has a campaign right now to prevent and educate students on the dangers of vaping.
“There are anti-vaping posters around, each of them is different,” Higgins said.
The posters don’t focus on health risks, but on risks college kids might care about, like e-cigarette batteries and liquid nicotine polluting the environment.
Sophomore Shane Anderson likes the effort by his college, but he wants to see it target more than just college kids.
“I play basketball here at Macalester and so I just feel like it would just hurt my lungs to vape,” he said. “Honestly, it should start in high school or like even now middle school because I know middle schoolers that like vape and like chew tobacco.”
Right now, over 50 college campuses in Minnesota are already tobacco free, according to the Association for Non-Smokers. One way the ANS is working to combat smoking in Minnesota is to push for more cities to pass a law that moves the age to purchase tobacco to 21.
Right now, over 40 Minnesota cities have passed a law raising the tobacco age to 21, including Minneapolis. St. Paul has not passed it.