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Letter: Faculty urge Duke to ban vaping

letter to the editor

As practicing clinicians and scientists, we write to express our concern regarding the use of electronic cigarettes on campus, and to urge Duke University to join almost 2,000 US colleges and universities in taking a proactive stance by banning these products on the campus. Our university and its host city Durham have navigated a long and fraught relationship with tobacco, and we now face a new opportunity to impact the tobacco industry’s threats to local and world public health. 

Vape manufacturers and marketers have made excessive claims of benefit in smoking cessation while targeting youth, who are especially vulnerable to addiction. They have delivered unhealthy and misleading information about the safety of these products, which the FDA has failed to regulate. The most recent Duke policy of April 2019 has deferred a decision regarding e-cigarettes and vaping on campus. In our opinion, the clear and strong recent local and national evidence of the highly addictive and life-threatening effects of vaping should motivate students and staff to abandon vaping and the University to implement a ban. 

While the specific chemical exposures causing this outbreak remain unknown at this time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends that young people not use e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly those containing THC. 

Thus, we urge the University to move quickly to acknowledge the health crisis linked to vaping and ban the use of all e-cigarette products on our campus.

Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD
Associate Professor in Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program (ITEHP)
Duke University School of Medicine 

Cynthia E Kuhn
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Duke University Medical Center

Peter S. Kussin, MD
Professor of Medicine
Duke Pulmonary and Critical Care

Patty J. Lee, MD
Professor of Medicine, Chief
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

Timothy J. McMahon, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care
Duke University Medical Center

Joel Meyer
Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown & Sons
Associate Professor of Molecular Environmental Toxicology
Director of Graduate Studies, Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program
Nicholas School of the Environment

Claude A. Piantadosi, MD
Professor of Medicine and Pathology
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care
Director, Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology

Loretta Que, MD
Professor of Medicine
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care

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