Harmful Vapor

Vaping is a rapidly growing trend that is spreading across younger generations, from adults to teens and even middle school youths! Although many are concerned about the number of teenagers that are using it, others worry about the possible health issues it could lead to. Numerous articles have noted that the human brain does not finish developing until the age of 25 or so. Drug usage, such as vaping, can cause harm to the brains of those who use it due to nicotine. Although it is not my place to tell you to stop vaping, maybe this article can make you think twice about it before you buy into this unethical industry.  

What is vaping?

Vaping is simply the new age version of smoking. Vaping is the process of inhaling and/or exhaling a vapor/aerosol that is produced by a mod, pen, tank, or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette). The vape liquid, also known as vape juice or e-juice, is heated within the mechanism to create the vapor. This not-so-harmless vapor contains water, nicotine, Propylene Glycol, and flavoring, amongst other chemicals, according to Wikipedia.

Safer than cigarettes?

When it comes to vaping, many believe that it is a much safer alternative than actually smoking cigarettes with tobacco. Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, according to the National Center for Health Research, “traditional cigarettes contain a laundry list of chemicals that have been proven to be harmful in which e-cigarettes have some of the same chemicals.” So, is vaping the healthier alternative? According to John Hopkins Medicine, “vaping is less harmful than traditional smoking, as it exposes you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes” The question is still up for debate about what chemicals are actually involved in e-cigarettes, but studies have shown that chemicals used to make the vaping liquid have been known to cause cancer, and other diseases. Some studies have also shown signs that vaping can affect a person’s immune system by weakening it. Although vaping is still a relatively new craze, many medical officials worry about the long-term effects of usage on the human body, especially for younger generations. Overdose is also a safety hazard for those who use e-cigarettes. Overdosing on nicotine can be difficult to do, but nicotine is a drug, therefore, making it possible. 

Addiction?

Vaping may not contain tobacco, but it still contains nicotine. Just like in cigarettes, nicotine is the highly addictive drug that causes users of e-cigarettes to become dependent on it. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “research suggests nicotine can be just as addictive as cocaine or heroin.”  A doctor has noted that vaping can contain higher amounts of nicotine than cigarettes due to the way the mods or e-cigarettes work, which can lead to much stronger addictions. Other studies have shown that the younger the user, the stronger the addiction can be, making it harder to quit in the future. Some signs of addiction include, but are not limited to: anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and more.  

Selling point?

There are numerous flavors of this liquid, meaning just about anyone could find a flavor that is for them. Many believe that it is a safer alternative to actual cigarettes. The large popularity of it is causing peer pressure to come into play, especially with teenagers and kids. Social media videos show off those who can do “tricks” with the vapor they produce and more. Vaping also tends to be the cheaper item on the market compared to other nicotine/tobacco products. Vaping can have a more appealing scent to it than traditional cigarettes as well. Some companies, like JUUL, are also growing in popularity due to the design of their mechanism, which is a USB drive design, meaning small and easy to hide.   

Youth usage

According to an article posted on the USA Today website, “about 13% of high school students report using e-cigarettes or other methods to vape.” In most states, the legal age to smoke, including vaping, is 18-21 as it is classified as a tobacco product. As of right now, some states are considering changing their smoking age to 21 as teen usage continues to grow. The controversial advertisement of vaping products has been causing major issues for the vaping industry as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been threatening vape companies, like JUUL, to change their advertisement strategies or else. Pre-teens and even middle school youths have found themselves addicted to vaping and many blame the very companies that sell these products as advertising to youths with bright colors, candy-like packaging, and flavorings. Currently, the FDA does “have the power to stop e-cigarette sales and compel makers to go through the formal FDA approval process” if need be. In fact, the FDA Commissioner is about ready to do so, according to a report by NBC news.

Although vaping may appear to be safer to use than the classic cigarette, studies are beginning to show that this form of smoking comes with its own set of health risks. From youth consumption to questionable advertisement, the controversy over e-cigarettes is just beginning. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, consider contacting one of the multiple helplines out there, like the National Drug Helpline or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

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