A campus vaping community

Maël Lorach, Staff Reporter

Several students laugh and hang out over a game of cards while they blow thick clouds from their electronic cigarettes and watch as a group of children pass by. It’s a typical sight at De Anza College’s Lot C smoking area.

“You got kids passing around here all the time, it’s so weird. They need to take a new path, ” said Rai’d Muhammad, 26, computer science major.

Smoking on campus, which includes e-cigarettes, is prohibited outside of three limited areas near parking lots A, B and E. Smoking outside of the designated areas can result in a fine according to De Anza’s website.

This follows in line with local cities and countries making a move to ban e-cigarettes.

The city of Cupertino is currently considering a ban on the sale or distribution of e-cigarettes after Santa Clara County made a similar move to ban the sale of e-cigarettes in the unincorporated section of the county.

Though the moves of the local government are seeking to limit e-cigarette use, for the students who frequent the area on campus, it is more than just a designated place to puff.

It is a support system.

“These are communal areas too you know, a lot of people meet and greet over here,” said Muhammad.

Nourreddin Jamal Eryka, 22, computer science major, said vaping is a way for him to stop using traditional tobacco products like cigarettes.

“Cigarettes and nicotine are just all over my family. I started smoking cigarettes when I was 17, and the one thing that helped me quit the most was electronic cigarettes,” said Eryka.

Vaping itself is especially popular among younger students and according to the surgeon general’s report on vaping, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, taking over the role of cigarettes in 2014.

“It is pretty ironic,” said Tommy Kim, 18, architecture major. “But I think vaping makes cigarettes seem less harmful. It’s like your feet are already in the water, so it’s more accessible.”

Muhammad said the designated smoking areas on De Anza College’s campus are necessary because without them people would just smoke illegally.

“You’re going to see a lot more people walking from class to class blowing fat clouds if there’s no location to do such a thing,” he said.