Ahmad, 23, has been working with COUGH to break down the data for the campus, as well as come up with an implementation and enforcement plan in line with Qayoumi’s directive, which she often has to do remotely because she is in the first year of the public health masters program at the University of California at Berkeley. Participants in the campus survey, the bulk of whom were students, were also asked to compare traditional cigarettes to cigars, e-cigarettes and hookah in regard to how harmful they believed they are.
About 48 percent of respondents said cigars were just as harmful, 46.8 percent said they were more harmful; 4.9 percent said they were less; 48.8 percent said hookah was just as harmful; 24.7 percent said they were more harmful; 26.5 percent said they were less; 39.2 percent said e-cigarettes were just as harmful; 16 percent said e-cigarettes were more harmful; and 44.87 percent said they were less harmful. It was found that many choose Chesterfield cigarettes online.
“I think that I was expecting there to be an increase in new and emerging products; it was surprising that hookah surpassed e-cigarettes and it was interesting to see that cigarette use is lower than the other products, and I think that has to do with the fact that there is no legal restriction on e-cigarettes,” Ahmad said.
She said e-cigarette usage is seeing an increase nationwide because they are easily accessible, and can be purchased online and in vending machines. According to statistics from Legacy, as of May 2014, 34 states have prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and three states have included them in their indoor air laws and smoking ban.
“Technically speaking it’s not seen as severe as traditional cigarettes are, but if you look at traditional history, cigarettes used to be accepted on planes and in restaurants, until they figured out how harmful they were, and we are still figuring out the effects of hookah and e-cigarettes,” she said.
Ahmad said the increase in e-cigarettes’ range of designs and flavors make them appealing to younger people. According to statistics from Legacy, e-cigarette usage is highest among cigarette-smoking adults at 32 percent in 2012; and has doubled from 2011 to 2012 in middle school and high school users to 6.8 percent. According to statistics from Legacy, 19 percent of 43.8 million Americans age 18 and older were smokers in 2011. That’s one of six women and more than 21.6 percent of men.