E-cigarettes not allowed where you would expect
Smoke-free environments are becoming more common around town, which is one of the reasons why electronic cigarettes have become popular since the rules on the e-cigarettes' restrictive areas have not been established.
Does this mean students are allowed to use them on campus or in the cafeteria?
According to Sgt. Raymond L. Bottenfield of the Santa Monica College Police Department, the same rules apply to e-cigarettes as any other tobacco products at this time. Many people who smoke e-cigarettes assume that they are allowed to use them on campus in the nonsmoking areas, but that is not the case.
“We direct people using e-cigarettes to the same areas as people smoking traditional cigarettes,” Bottenfield said.
Smarter, cheaper and much healthier seem to be the new advertising strategy for the new electronic cigarettes. When talking to people who smoke the electronic way, the e-cigarettes are portrayed as a better alternative to regular cigarettes.
However, the health risks that e-cigarettes may pose are still unknown.
E-cigarettes work a bit differently than traditional cigarettes, where the nicotine is released by burning. With e-cigarettes, heating and vaporization release the nicotine.
Since the rules regarding e-cigarettes have not yet been announced to the public, and as a result of information published on retailers' webpages, e-smokers may have the impression that they have the right to use it in places where traditional cigarettes are not allowed.
Mesoud Taniwal, an SMC student, is one of many who experienced this false impression, as he was asked by the police to move further away from campus while smoking his e-cigarette.
“Usually I smoke here outside the campus on Pearl Street, but I have been using it on campus as well,” Taniwal said.
He said that students have not reacted to it, even though it is not allowed.
Although the risks with e-cigarettes have not been determined yet, Taniwai claimed that e-cigarettes are still healthier than traditional cigarettes because they contain less chemicals.
The alternative to the burning nicotine cigarettes has allowed anti-smokers to become more accepting of e-cigarettes.
Mikaela Hagstrom is a nonsmoking SMC student, who tries to keep as far away as possible from smoking areas in general.
“I have always been against smokers, mostly because of the smell,” said Hagstrom. “If someone walked past me on campus, smoking a regular cigarette I would actually be bothered but if it was an e-cigarette I would think it was more OK.”
The different reasons for choosing electronic before traditional differ, but the fact that they do not emit the same smoky smell as typical cigarettes is a reason for some.
Oliver Gomme, a student at SMC, has been smoking for 10 years, but decided to jump on this new trend because his girlfriend dislikes the smell of smoke, and also due to health reasons.
However, not everybody has become hooked on this innovation. SMC student Rosco Rolandell tried them for three months, but said it felt like smoking air.
“I want the hard thing, the real deal,” Rolandell said.
Another SMC student, Janisse Briseno, also gave e-cigarettes a chance but since they do not contain as much nicotine as cigarettes, she decided to go back and smoke the traditional way.
Briseno said she believes that many people use e-cigarettes at the smoking areas around campus, but that regular cigarettes are still more common among SMC students.
The number of people who are using e-cigarettes has notably increased recently, but not just at SMC.
“It appears that e-cigarettes are more popular everywhere,” said Bottenfield.