Student Health and Wellness Services

Nicotine, Tobacco, Vaping and Smoking

Nicotine is the psychoactive substance found in tobacco. Tobacco comes from a plant of the nightshade. Tobacco leaves are usually smoked in cigarettes, cigars and pipes, or used in snuff (sniffed up the nose), dip and chewing tobacco. Wet tobacco leaves are smoked through water pipes called shisha or hookah. Nicotine is available in liquids of varying concentrations and inhaled through vaping products.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDs) – or e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, vaporizers, dose pens, or e-hookahs are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol which can contain nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. They can look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or everyday things like writing pens or USB memory sticks. Other devices may have refillable tanks and can look very different. Regardless of their design and appearance, these devices typically function in similar ways and are made of similar parts.

Today, there are more than 460 different e-cigarettes on the market. They are so varied from the number of puffs, to the type of liquids, to the depth of inhalation – that it makes it difficult to assess all their potential risks. Since e-cig/vape products are so new and healthcare professionals can’t fast forward into the future, some of the long-term effects of these products are hard to predict.

E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have 4 major components: a mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale, a power source, a heating element called an atomizer, and a cartridge or reservoir, which holds a liquid solution or e-liquid which typically contains varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.

E-liquid contains aerosols, mixtures of ultrafine liquid particles that contain many chemicals and leave residues. Aerosols in e-cigarettes typically contain:

  • Propylene Glycol, Glycerine
  • Nicotine, a highly addictive stimulant drug which causes changes in brain chemistry, the cardiovascular and the respiratory system. 
  • Flavors, which make it more appealing to consume nicotine. But, some flavors have been shown to be toxic due to the chemicals they contain.  (Ex. Diacetyl)

Nicotine by itself is not extremely harmful. Its main negative consequence is that it produces dependence very quickly and is highly addictive. Most of the harmful effects of nicotine come from the combustion and inhalation of chemicals in cigarettes and e-liquids. Aerosols produced by vaping enter into the lungs and can leave chemical residue behind. We still do not know the full impact or long-term effects of vaping on the human body. Below are some additional effects of smoking or vaping.

  • Nicotine increases pulse rate and blood pressure. 
  • Effects can be felt immediately and can last up to 30 minutes depending on the dose.
  • First time users often feel dizzy or nauseous even after a few puffs from a cigarette.
  • Regular users often report that smoking reduces their anxiety and helps them relax.
  • Smoking tobacco increases the risk of heart disease, circulatory problems, bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Coughing and other chest or breathing problems are common among smokers.
  • Nicotine in any form has a high addiction potential. Regular use can result in dependency and long lasting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Depression, irritability, restlessness, and anxiety are some of the symptoms experienced by nicotine users in withdrawal.
  • Tobacco is highly carcinogenic. Regular smokers have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer and other forms of cancer.
  • Snuff and chew can result in cancers of the mouth, nose and throat.


Quit Support

Quitting smoking and vaping can be challenging. People usually make several attempts to quit or change their use before permanently quitting and staying quit. Every quit and change attempt is an opportunity to learn which techniques help you best.

The Bronco Wellness Center offers FREE quit vaping/smoking services. Click here  to request nicotine replacement therapy or meet with a health educator to:  

  • Recognize and reflect on your smoking/vaping patterns and learn about health effects of smoking/vaping.
  • Build social support and establish a plan of action for quitting or changing.
  • Select a quit day or a change day and prepare to put your plan into action.
  • Learn about handling stress and preventing relapse.

California Smokers’ Helpline

Kick it California 

The TRUTH- quit vaping support

Nicotine Anonymous
Modeled after AA, these groups meet at many locations. Call for a recorded list of free meetings.  Call 1-877-879-6422



Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy

Effective September 1, 2017, all California State University campuses shall be 100% Smoke Free and Tobacco Free. Smoking, the use or sale of tobacco products, and the use of designated smoking areas are prohibited on all California State University properties. Members of the CSU community are expected to fully comply with the policy. Read more on EO 1108 Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy.

Smoke Free: “Smoke Free” means the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other “smoke” emanating products including e-cigarettes, vapor devices and other like products are prohibited on all University properties.

Smoke or Smoking: “Smoke” or “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, cigarillo, pipe, hookah, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form. “Smoke” or “Smoking” also includes the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking.

Tobacco Free: “Tobacco Free” means the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, snuffs, and other tobacco products are prohibited on all University properties.