Smoke in class?

Reporter: Leslie Armstrong-Payne

Will students and faculty be allowed to smoke e-cigarettes in Durham College or UOIT anytime soon?
E-cigarettes were banned in March of 2009, but according to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, they fall into a grey area.
“If they contain nicotine or make any kind of health claim, they are illegal,” said registered nurse Bernadette Riordan. Companies can legally sell e-cigarettes to Canadians because the products meet these current standards.
The Non-Smokers’ Rights Association and the Smoking and Health Action Foundation (NSRA/SHAF) released a report in October 2013 that said e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes.
“I know people that smoke [e-cigarettes],” said Durham College student Abbygail Donneral, “but I don’t know if I’d like it in class.”
With all the uncertainty, Tammy Finlayson of the Durham College – UOIT Health Centre does not believe e-cigarettes will ever be allowed inside Durham College or UOIT.
“The problem is we do not have studies yet,” said Finlayson.
Some e-cigarette suppliers advertise their vapour products as nicotine-free but the ingredients in the vapour liquid can be coming from anywhere in the world.
“We do not know what else is in them,” she added.
The NSRA/SHAF report said the vapour liquid is made with a base of propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine and water.
Some grades of PG can be considered safe to eat; other grades are used in anti-freeze, said Riordan.
The report also indicates that substances such as nicotine, PG and small amounts of heavy metals have been found in the second-hand vapour of randomly tested e-cigarettes.