Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping - Smoking in the Generation of Technology

The New Epidemic

In the past, cigarettes have been a major issue that have led to health problems upon health problems. Over the years, many organizations, educators, and others across the state (and even the country) have worked to 'crush' smoking. This effort has been successful, as the number of smokers and specifically adolescent smokers has dropped significantly. However, this may not last due to the rise in electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette use. One of the most common e-cigarettes is the vape. There are many different types of vapes. Initially, they were advertised to be a tool used to quit smoking cigarettes. The problem now is that they are being used by non-smokers more than they are being used by smokers looking to quit. E-cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes, but they are by no means safe. Now, instead of helping smokers to quit, they are creating an appealing image for non-smokers to start. E-cigarettes are causing the progress made towards stopping smoking to reverse, leaving us with another large issue regarding smoking.

Anyone who is 18 or older can buy electric cigarettes. There are hundreds and hundreds of types of e-cigarettes/vapes but they typically fall under one of three categories:

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Flavors
     
There are over 1500 flavors of 'juice' that can be used in e-cigarettes and this number is growing everyday. This is one thing that draws users and it has been pointed out that good flavors are not necessary to someone who is quitting smoking. E-cigarette companies have claimed that their products are meant to help smokers quit, but if this was the case, why would they be continuing to produce candy-like flavors that are appealing to consumers? It is important to keep this in mind while listening to the claims of the companies.

 
Popularity
 
Between 2012 and 2015, there was a 900% increase in the number of adolescents using e-cigarettes. They grew more popular as advertisements increased. E-cigarettes were very appealing to the current generation of teens and young adults because it was a new piece of technology in a time considered the 'technology generation'. Not to mention, in their advertising, e-cigarettes, more commonly called vapes, were shown as the safe way to smoke so the risks were often not considered.

The Risks
 
The risks of e-cigarettes were unknown in the time that they were being sold rapidly, and we still don't know all of the risks to this day. What we do know, is that vapes are not just water vapor like they were being advertised as. They contain nicotine which is a highly addictive and dangerous substance. What many people do not know, is that the vapor also contains solvents, traces of alcohol, metallic particles, and more toxic substances that can cause serious harm in the body. These toxins result in many issues such as cravings, anxiety, depression, damage to organ function, gene damage which will impact offspring in the future, and more mental and physical damage. Using a vape or e-cigarette can also lead one to use other drugs or alcohol.

Studies have shown that someone using a vape regularly is four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than someone who does not use a vape. Even if vaping did not harm the body (though it definitely does), it would still be a problem because it creates habits and addictions that can easily lead to use of other, more extreme drugs. This is made easier by the type of vapes that allow users to easily insert and smoke marijuana through them. The technology allows for smoking marijuana to be fast and easy through the vape and this encourages users to do so. Smoking marijuana regularly is a different level than smoking the vapors. Though both are dangerous, the marijuana can cause other severe damages to the body and mind and can be a gateway to more dangerous and addictive drugs.

 
Questioning the Companies
 
Because e-cigarettes and vaping are so new, there is a lot that we don't know about them. Companies claim that e-cigarettes help smokers to quit, but is this true? Studies have found that the majority of those who use e-cigarettes to quit vape regularly. The problem with this is that instead of quitting, they are replacing cigarettes with vapes. This does not take away the risks or the dangers, it just replaces the old risks and dangers with new ones. This is also risky because they may be tempted to smoke marijuana and other drugs. One of the biggest questions out there for vape companies right now is why they have so many flavors? If vapes are truly meant to help smokers to quit, why are they so customizable and tasty? There are thousands of vape flavors so that everyone can find some that they like. This makes the vapes more appealing because of their taste and can add to the addiction to them as well.

It is important to remember that e-cigarettes are dangerous and that you can't believe everything that the companies are saying. Encourage your friends and family to consider if the risks of e-cigarettes are worth it. Suggest other activities that will keep you healthy and safe. We here at Healthy SV want to educate the community as long as anyone who we can reach about the dangers of e-cigarettes and we hope that you do too.


For more information on youth vaping, visit these sites: https://www.thetruth.com/articles/videos/vaping-inner-monologue?gclsrc=aw.ds

https://drugfree.org/

https://childmind.org/article/teen-vaping-what-you-need-to-know/

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm


Sources:

Drugfree.org
CDC.gov
Thetruth.com
Centeronaddiction.org