Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 7:44 pm | Fair 52º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara District Moving to Ban Electronic Cigarettes as Use Rises Among Students

Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among middle and high school students, and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is working with school districts and cities to add the devices to ordinances regulating tobacco products and secondhand smoke.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information last week that found that the use of e-cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012 among middle and high school students. Use of small, flavored cigars has been increasing as well.

The e-cigarettes are battery-powered and provide doses of nicotine or other additives in aerosol form, according to the CDC.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District's Board of Education talked last week about altering its tobacco policies to include these devices. Dawn Dunn with the county’s Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program handed out “hookah pens” for them to look at, noting that they are colorful, small and look like toys or pens, adding that they’re very difficult to detect since the vapor is odorless.

Dunn noted that it’s illegal for anyone younger than age 18 to purchase them, and the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t yet regulate these products.

“This is not something you want unchecked on your school campuses,” she said.

The Santa Barbara County Education Office invited Public Health to speak as experts on the topic, and Dunn and others have been going to districts and cities to talk about including e-cigarettes in all tobacco-related policies.

“We didn’t push for it; this was something they thought of on their own,” health educator Grace Alderson said.

Santa Barbara Unified’s proposed language prohibits all electronic nicotine delivery systems “such as electronic cigarettes, electronic hookahs and other vapor emitting devices, with or without nicotine content, that mimic the use of tobacco products.”

The CDC reported that e-cigarette use rose from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent in middle school students from 2011 to 2012, and from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent in high schools. Hookah use rose from 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

The CDC doesn’t recognize e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids, saying there is “no conclusive evidence” that they promote long-term quitting, though some of the e-cigarettes are marketed that way.

Public Health went to Goleta’s Ordinance Committee about its secondhand smoking ordinance and is asking the city — and will ask the county and Santa Barbara — to include emissions from electronic nicotine devices, Alderson said. Her department has concerns about the chemicals being inhaled from these products as well, especially since they aren’t regulated.

People can put hemp oil, marijuana and other drugs in the devices and smoke them without any odor because of the vaporizing effect, Alderson said.

Santa Barbara City College went entirely smoke-free in July and its ban includes e-cigarettes, and the entire University of California system is going smoke- and tobacco-free in January.

The products are “insanely popular” but hard to detect, so people get away with using them in places such as schools where they would get caught using traditional tobacco products, Alderson said.

The stealth level is a draw for people, and the e-cigarettes are marketed in a way for people to start smoking in a more socially-acceptable way since they are less of a nuisance and are odorless, she said.

They are also flavored and smell like candy or fruit, and young people can easily buy them online, she said.

The county’s Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program has education and enforcement services to help prevent young people from starting tobacco use, helping smokers and other users quit, and protecting the public from harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.