Clemson is a tobacco-free campus, which encompasses traditional cigarettes, snuff and chewing tobacco, but also includes Juuls and other types of e-cigarettes and nicotine-delivery devices. The use of e-cigarettes, which have gained much popularity with e-cigarette companies marketing their sweet-flavored products to youth and young adults, are very unsafe for many reasons:
- Most e-cigs contain nicotine, which is very addictive and comes from tobacco. A single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
- E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor,” according to the CDC. The CDC states that the e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:
- Nicotine damages the brain, which is not fully developed until about age 25, and negatively affects attention, learning, mood and impulse control.
- Use of any kind of nicotine increases the risk of future addiction to other drugs, and there is some evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future, according to the CDC.
- The long-term effects of e-cigarettes have not been established, but some studies indicate that they can cause cancer, damage the lungs and compromise the immune system.
Given the health risks and prohibitions of using tobacco, the best course is to quit. However, if you’re addicted, it can be difficult. Resources are available to help:
- Make a list of the reasons you want to quit.
- Recognize your triggers and find an alternative way to deal with them.
- Be aware that you may feel some symptoms of withdrawal, but that the worst last a few days to a couple of weeks.
- Get a tobacco/nicotine cessation app.
- Tell family and friends you plan to quit and ask them for support.
- Make a quit plan.
- Get a prescription for a cessation medication. Medical providers at Redfern Health Center can write prescriptions for nicotine-replacement therapies, such as patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, nasal sprays and drug therapies such as Bupropion/Zyban. Students can get these products, which are covered by most insurance plans, at the Redfern Health Center Pharmacy.
Many people benefit from counseling. Clemson’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free and confidential sessions to students who would like help while quitting. Access CAPS through the CU Now walk-in clinic from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Friday, on a first-come, first-served basis. (Plan to spend an hour and a half for an initial assessment.)
It’s never too late to quit using tobacco; your body starts to recover after only one hour and, over time, continues. Don’t wait—start quitting today.