In the past few years vaping has transformed from a small fad to a common part of everyday life for a majority of smokers in the U.S. However, with the Juul and other e-cigs being found in the possession of underage children, vaping has recently come under fire. This is a concern for parents as the majority of products contain high concentrations of nicotine that come in a variety of flavors that they seem to think is encouraging children to try vaping.
E-cigs were created to give those who were dependent on smoking an alternative form that could help wean them off of cigarettes. The first few products that came out only had tobacco or menthol flavors. However, through the years flavors have increased in numbers as it allows for the user to pick a flavor that they prefer and makes it easier for them to use the products.
The cause for concern is not that the demographic of smokers is getting younger, but that the age range of e-cig users has expanded into prepubescent children as well as the elderly. Since a child’s brain is not fully developed, the use of e-cigs and nicotine products could lead to addiction and potentially have effects on them long-term though, due to the matter of ethics, there have not been any definitive studies or research done on this.
There is currently a debate among parents and agencies on how to handle the vaping epidemic. They are trying to figure out what method would be best for reducing the use of e-cigs and nicotine products in young children. While most parents and entities seem to blame the flavors as the problem, some see the lack of prevention efforts as the main issue. The array of flavors are believed to entice children to try e-cigs as the lack of a harsh flavor makes it easier for them to use the products. Research has shown that most children who try vaping usually start by using a flavored product. However, this doesn’t address the fact that sometimes kids will try things regardless of the flavor.
Others believe there is too much focus on what needs to be done once a child becomes addicted. They believe attention should be paid instead to how we can prevent kids from getting access to any of these products in the first place. The FDA has succeeded in taking proactive steps such as the removal of flavored products and the requirement of vaping products to only be sold in certified establishments. They’ve also increased the punishment for selling to underage kids to encourage stores to take ID checks more seriously.
Any new restrictions need to take into consideration the potential to make it hard for adults who are trying to quit smoking to get access to e-cigs and products. It also has to be said that in this age, responsibility lies with the parents. The first response should be to talk to your child, consider counseling, and set strict boundaries that don’t allow them to have the time and money to get these products. Vaping is just another trend like excessive piercings and tattoos and it will eventually fade. Kids will realize they don’t care about it as much and that they want to spend money on other things. So, yes, while vaping is dangerous and the increasing numbers are concerning, the same thing happened with cigarettes. The amount of people smoking dropped significantly when the campaigns started and the companies were required to put warnings on their products.
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