News Briefs—Jan. 26

E-cigarette concerns blown out of proportion 

A comprehensive review of the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes and vapour devices shows that fears of vaping acting as a gateway drug to tobacco use are unfounded, according to UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. (CARBC).

The report, titled “Clearing the Air,” presents evidence that tobacco use in youth has been declining while use of vaping devices has been increasing. There was also significant evidence that vapour from e-cigarettes is less toxic than tobacco cigarette smoke, with the former containing only 18 of the 79 toxins found in the latter.

Principal investigator Marjorie MacDonald said that fears around a gateway effect are “unjustified and overblown,” and that seeing youth use a less harmful alternative to tobacco smoking is “positive.”

The report doesn’t go into the specifics of how goofy vaping looks, however. More on that research as it becomes available. An executive summary of “Clearing the Air” is available online at uvic.ca/research/centres/carbc.

Department of Indigenous Education gets faculty approval

The UVic Faculty of Education voted unanimously in support of forming a new Department of Indigenous Education on Jan. 18.

The proposal will need to be formally approved by the UVic Senate before being implemented. If approved, it would create a formal structure for the Indigenous education courses already offered through the faculty, something that Onowa McIvor, director of Indigenous Education, hopes will mark a turning point for Indigenous learners on campus.

“It can only mean great things for Indigenous worldviews, ways of being, and forms of teaching to have a unit that has autonomy, that is self-determining, and can make its own tenure and promotion policies,” McIvor said.

The department would be in addition to the three that exist within the faculty currently: the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the School of Exercise, Physical and Health Education, and the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies.

The proposal will head to the Senate in April or May, hopefully in time to be implemented for the 2017-18 academic year.

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