Harms of Vaping

Second Hand Smoke


Are e-cigarettes just as bad as smoking cigarettes?
Even though there are less cancer-causing chemicals in e-cigarettes compared to tobacco, they contain chemicals that are far from benign, e.g., formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is formed during inhalation in tank system e-cigarettes.  Nicotine can lead to severe neurodevelopmental impairments in young users, is highly addictive, and can prime the brain to be more prone to addiction of other drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine.  A solvent known as propylene glycol is known to cause lung disease.

What’s the difference between e-cigarettes and vaping?
E-cigs are meant to mimic the experience of smoking actual cigarettes, most even lighting up at the end of the pen. They usually contain nicotine and have a taste similar to tobacco and menthol flavors. Vape “pens” or tanks often contain refillable liquid1. There are many different modification capabilities to these tanks, such as temperature and nicotine level. 

Why is chewing tobacco bad for you? Don’t they contain less carcinogens than cigarettes?
Not only can smokeless tobacco result in similar physiological disorders as cigarettes, smokeless tobacco has been found to damage pivotal metabolic enzymes2. The use of smokeless tobacco has been proven to cause DNA mutations that can lead to pancreatic cancer, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and more3.

Is snus safer than chewing tobacco?
Snus, a form of loose tobacco made in Sweden, has been traditionally thought of as a safer alternative to chewing tobacco and smoking. Even though snus contains 22 less carcinogens than its counterpart in smoking, it increases your risk for leukoplakia4. Leukoplakia is the development of precancerous lesions in the mouth4.  The risk for mouth cancer is similar to chewing tobacco.

Why did Marquette University go tobacco free as of August 1st, 2017?
Marquette University is committed to the Jesuit educational principle of cura personalis, or care for the whole person. This includes supporting physical well-being. Therefore, as part of our institutional efforts, we seek to create and maintain an environment that promotes health and healthy behavior for all students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. Because tobacco products have well-known health risks associated with their use and secondhand exposure that put all members of the Marquette community at risk, the university has developed a tobacco-free policy.

In what on-campus areas does the policy cover?
The policy encompasses all of Marquette University.  This includes all indoor and outdoor campus spaces including campus buildings, grounds, exterior open spaces, green spaces, parking lots (including inside a vehicle if parked in an MU lot), university-owned or leased vehicles, on-campus sidewalks (not bordering a city street), on-campus driveways and other paved areas, athletic facilities, practice facilities, and recreational spaces.   

What exactly does tobacco free mean?
Tobacco is defined to include any lighted cigarette (clove, bidis, kreteks), cigars, cigarillos, pipes, hookah products, and any other smoking product. This also includes any smokeless, spit or spit less, dissolvable, or inhaled tobacco products; including but not limited to dip, chew, snuff or snus, in any form (orbs, sticks pellets, etc.)3. Nicotine products not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a smoking cessation product, such as e-cigarettes, are also prohibited.

Are vapes included in the policy, and if so why?
Vaping is indeed banned on campus, as it is not only a nicotine product but also produces vapor clouds that affect others. Electronic nicotine delivery tanks contain an unknown level of toxic chemicals. With the surge of electronic nicotine systems and no existing government regulation of the ingredients, research is ongoing to identify the toxic chemicals contained within the tanks6.

How dangerous is second hand smoke?
Secondhand smoke contains 4,000 chemicals and over an estimated 100 carcinogens. There is no difference in the chemical compounds between firsthand and secondhand smoke. Inhalation of second hand smoke over time can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke,  and decreased lung function.

Where did this policy come from?
The push for a tobacco-free policy gained momentum with students from the Student Health Advisory Board and MUSG. The policy was approved in Spring 2017 through the University Policies and Procedures Committee.

Are there designated areas on campus for students to smoke or vape?
No, the tobacco free policy is an attempt to eliminate tobacco use while creating a safe environment for the Marquette community. However, smoking is permitted on city property such as sidewalks adjoining city streets.

Whom does this policy affect?
This policy affects everyone who enters Marquette University property. This includes staff, faculty, students, employees, visitors.


(n.d.). Health risks of secondhand smoke: What is secondhand smoke? American Cancer Society.
Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/secondhand-smoke.html

(2007). IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans: Smokeless tobacco and some tobacco-specific n-nitrosamines (Vol. 89). Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Rimer, S. (n.d.). Behind the vapor: Chasing the facts about e-cigarettes health risks. Boston University Research. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/research/articles/behind-the-vapor/

(n.d.). Smokeless tobacco: Health effects. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/

Stöppler, M. C. (n.d.). Chewing tobacco (Smokeless tobacco, snuff). MedicineNet. Retrieved from www.medicinenet.com/smokeless_tobacco/article.htm

Vapentine, L. (2016, September 22). E-cigarettes vs. vaporizers: What's the difference? Vapor4Life. Retrieved from www.vapor4life.com/blog/e-cigarettes-vs-vaporizers-whats-difference/


What's in a name?

Quite a lot, actually. Find out what the M.D.s, D.O.s, P.A.s, C.M.A.s, R.N.s, M.L.T.s and R.D.s at Marquette's Medical Clinic do to help get you — and keep you — healthy. Here's a hint: It's more than just caring for your basic health needs. Find out more.