Pricing and health concerns have caused some students to switch to smoking electronic cigarettes instead of tobacco and nicotine based products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given Georgia State University’s (GSU) School of Public Health a $19 million grant to research tobacco. GSU will conduct three research projects to examine human economic behavior, consumer reaction to tobacco marketing and individual risk perception of using new tobacco products, according to a news article on the school’s website.
Greg League, a sophomore Sociology major, said, “I felt like it [an electronic cigarette] would be a better option and hopefully cheaper, but it probably won’t be in the long run. I was tired of inhaling burnt chemicals in my lungs, so I figured vapor was probably better.”
Currently, electronic cigarettes and vapor sales aren’t regulated by standard tobacco laws because they’re not tobacco.
Thomas Hales, co-owner of Happy Hookah smoke shop, said, “Essentially it’s a flavor with a chemical inside of it. Nothing more or nothing less.”
Alternate tobacco forms like dip, chewing tobacco and hookahs are also included in the study.
Dr. Michael Eriksen, the School of Public Health’s Dean, said “The smoke from a hookah is water cooled, so it doesn’t feel as harsh, but it’s not filtered, so the smoke still has the same toxins in it. While you think it’s not as harmful, it actually could be more harmful because it’s easier to inhale and not cough. Not only are you inhaling the tobacco, you’re inhaling the charcoal fumes directly into your lungs.”
Some students believe that smoking alternate forms of tobacco are healthier options. Georgia State’s scheduled five years of research will either confirm or disprove these perceptions.