The E-Cigarette Phenomenon

The explosion of young adults using e-cigarettes across the country has become the new and trendy phenomenon, enticing users with their tasty flavoring. E-cigarette companies like JUUL are dominating the market attracting users with their appealing vapes and flavors as reported by the Truth Initiative. But, what many of these new smokers don’t realize are the actual contents or consequences of smoking.

According to a study from Truth Initiative only 37 percent of young adult JUUL users knew that their product always contains nicotine. In addition, Truth Initiative has claimed that the effects of nicotine on developing brains may cause nicotine addiction and a greater vulnerability for addiction to other drugs.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re doing something that’s going to harm you,” said Antonio Rodriguez, a student at Loyola. “It’s not an unpleasant experience.”

There has been a huge increase in the presence and consumption of e-cigarettes in young adults due to the new and alluring production of flavoring e-cigarettes and accessibility. Morning Consult, a market research company, found that the percentage of adults in the US who have tried vaping between the ages of 18 to 24-year-olds is 85 percent, 30 to 44-year-olds 69 percent, 45 to 54-year-olds 49 percent and 65-year-olds or older 22 percent. It was found that 85 percent of adults age 18 to 24 are smoking e-cigarettes—a striking difference compared to the 22 percent of 65-year-olds or older that are e-cigarette smokers.

In addition, during a National Health Interview Survey, it was found that, between 2012 and 2013, 2.4 percent of adults aged 25 to 44 used e-cigarettes, however, by 2016 when e-cigarette companies like JUUL hit the markets, those rates increased to 4.2 percent.

“I think that companies that manufacture these products do a really effective job at marketing to this population of people,” said Joan Holden, an Adult Nurse Practitioner. “That with the fact that they offer these products in flavorings that are appealing to young people makes it ripe for that population to be addicted.”

E-cigarette companies claim that their target population are people who have had a life time of struggles with their nicotine addiction. But as the data listed above from the National Health Interview Survey shows, that is not the case. Majority of e-cigarette users are found within the younger demographic.

“Well I just can’t imagine why you wouldn’t believe that these companies are targeting this population of people,” said Holden. “They [e-cigarette companies] been using social media platforms that young people use. You don’t see 45 year olds, 50 year olds, and 60 year olds that have a lifetime of cigarette smoking on snapchat or Instagram. Call me cynical, but I do believe they are marketing purposely to that population.”

So, to fight the rising number of young smokers the Food and Drug Administration began implementing even more regulations onto big e-cigarette companies.

“This troubling reality is prompting us to take even more forceful actions to stem this dangerous trend,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a September 2018 press release. “The FDA won’t tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products.”

While it is agreed that vaping is generally considered less dangerous than smoking, vaping still continues to be under fire from the FDA for the “ubiquitous – and dangerous – trends” it’s creating among young adults, according to Gottlieb.

“It’s so convenient to do it, because you can do it indoors, it smells good, it’s cheaper, it’s small, refillable, like they’re making it really easy to get you addicted to nicotine here,” said Sasha Fishel, a student at Loyola. ​​

To check out the percentage of adults who have tried vaping click here.