In the wake of the Centers for Disease Control reporting a sixth death from lung illness tied to vaping, university health officials are urging students to stop vaping.
The CDC said there have been 380 confirmed cases of lung illness in the country. And there have been 28 cases in North Carolina alone, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Callie Kelly, a Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Consultant, is the coordinator of student wellness programs at Elon. She says the CDC’s findings should be alarming to everyone.
“Listen to the CDC’s warning,” Kelly said. “This is not about creating hysteria, but this is serious. And I can say that Elon joins with the CDC in advising –– strongly advising ––anyone who vapes to stop vaping.”
Kelly, in collaboration with SPARKS, starting distributing “My Quit Kits” to students in the spring. The kits include resources on how to quit vaping.
“We want students to know that regardless of how cool or trendy these devices look, there’s a risk associated with using the product,” Kelly said.
About 150 quit kits were handed out in the spring semester, according to Kelly. She believes the issue of vaping has been largely dismissed, and that the CDC’s warning is an awakening to take a closer look at the devices.
“There are short-term effects where there’s an increase in your heart rate, your blood pressure, your metabolic rate and so those are all health risks that in the long term could lead to cardiovascular and respiratory disorders,” Kelly said.
The CDC reports the symptoms of the illness tied to vaping include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting. Kelly said she urges students who begin experiencing these symptoms to seek medical attention.
Elon senior Will Henderson said he recently quit vaping after doing it for almost four years.
“Everyone else was doing it at like darties and stuff so I just felt like I needed to also,” Hendersen said.
Though he quit, Henderson said he still worries about what vaping did to his body.
“I’m nervous about like what I’ve done in the past but like I’m glad I stopped now,” he said. Now I’m telling my friends to just like you should not do it.”
Sam Moreland, an Elon sophomore, first used a JUUL nearly three years ago. After trying a friend’s, she eventually bought one of her own.
“Really I wouldn’t keep doing it if I wasn’t addicted honestly,” Moreland said. “But I am, so.”
Moreland said she typically goes through one JUUL pod a day, which has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes, according to JUUL. Her family has tried to get her to stop, but Moreland said it hasn’t worked yet.
“It’s harder than it sounds,” Moreland said. “I’ve tried to put it down. I really have.”
Kelly also helped in spearheading a Juul exchange program last semester, where students can turn in their vaping device in exchange for complimentary personal training sessions, massages and other incentives –– along with resources to help students quit.
For help quitting, you can visit the SPARKS office in Moseley to get a quit kit. You can also visit QuitLineNC.com for more information on how to quit.