The Student Health Center is encouraging students, staff and faculty at Orange Coast College to discontinue the use of vaping products by offering free cessation resources.
The health center updated its website with a health advisory that warned against the use of vape or e-cigarette products on Oct. 3 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new information about an increase of deaths and illnesses allegedly associated with vaping products.
According to the CDC smoking and tobacco announcements on its website, which are updated every Thursday, as of Oct. 22 there were 34 confirmed deaths and 1,604 cases of lung injuries related to the use of e-cigarette or vaping products in the United States.
The CDC reported that they have not identified the cause of the lung illnesses, but a common factor in all these occurrences is the use of e-cigarettes and/or vaping products.
The health center is partnered with the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) to provide everyone on campus with tools to quit vaping and/or smoking free of cost.
“With recent reports of the deaths that were linked to vaping and e-cigarettes, we felt as the Student Health Center that we had to align with the CDC’s recommendation in urging everyone to quit vaping,” Janice Iglesias, a health educator at the health center said. “That is tied to our mission and goal.”
According to Iglesias, vaping is a new challenge in the health field and because there is so little knowledge and information regarding the long term effects, the health center wants to stay ahead of it.
With the assistance of the HCA, members of the OCC community can call 1-866-NEW-LUNG to utilize one the four services provided. Services range from various class setting sessions to one-on-one in person or telephone counseling. More information about the services are available through the health center or the hotline.
Peter Yencso, a 20-year-old liberal arts major, said he is glad OCC is introducing new initiatives because e-cigarette use is not a real alternative to cigarettes. Yencso described growing up with a smoking neighbor as an awful experience and called for stricter regulation of smoking on campus.
“OCC currently does not allow smoking within 20 feet of the premises. It would be better and make for a healthier environment for students if there wouldn’t be smoking within 100 feet of the campus,” Yencso said.
Iglesias said the health center was awarded funding through the Truth Initiative, a national non-profit public health organization dedicated to promoting a tobacco free world, to advocate and adopt a 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free campus policy.
While the health center has moved to help the campus community quit vaping, OCC has yet to achieve the goal of a 100 percent tobacco-free campus.
According to Iglesias, OCC would like be smoke free, with a goal to be 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free by June 2020.