Nursing students build website showing harms of vaping devices and e-cigarettes

UH Hilo students Frank Guillermo, Madeline Bush, and Lokelani Chong’s message: Vaping devices and e-cigarettes are creating and increasing harmful effects in users.

By Susan Enright

Screenshot of website
Nursing students at UH Hilo have created a website about the use of vaping devices and e-cigarettes. The website’s homepage immediately points out misleading marketing information such as faulty use of the word “vaping.” Use of vaping products does not actually involve use of vapor at all.

Three senior nursing students at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo have built a website in hopes of educating the community about a prevalent health issue: vaping devices and e-cigarettes are harmful. As a community project for a nursing lab on leadership and transitioning to practice (NURS 457L), the students put together the website with some disturbing information about trends in these harmful products.

From left, Frank Guillermo, Madeline Bush, and Lokelani Chong in their white nursing uniforms.
From left, Frank Guillermo, Madeline Bush, and Lokelani Chong. Courtesy photo.

On the website, students Frank Guillermo, Madeline Bush, and Lokelani Chong get their message across: vaping and e-cigarette use is creating and increasing harmful effects in users.

The website’s homepage immediately points out misleading marketing information such as faulty use of the word “vaping.” Turns out, use of “vaping” devices does not actually involve use of vapor at all.

While using an e-cigarette is often called “vaping,” the devices produce an aerosol, not a vapor. Unlike vapor, which is simply a substance in gas form, the aerosol from an e-cigarette contains tiny chemical particles from both the liquid solution and the device (e.g., metals from the heating coil).

“You may be surprised at some of the statistics and problems that this trend has caused,” says Jeanette Ayers-Kawakami, associate professor of nursing who teaches the lab.

For example, as the website points out:

  • There have been 2,807 hospitalized cases of serious lung injury associated with vaping products, resulting in 68 deaths as of February 2020.
  • Active ingredients in vape juice include: nicotine, volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles, cancer causing chemicals, heavy metals (nickel, tin, & lead), and menthol flavors.
  • Menthol acts to mask the harsh taste… [leading users] to continue use.

The students’ website project was done in collaboration with the American Cancer Society and Colleges Against Cancer and as part of the 2021 UH Hilo Relay for Life Event.

Visit the website to learn more about vaping and e-cigarettes.

 

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.