The Next Scourge (a term I never use) of Our Country: Teen Vaping
Leave it to the Tobacco Industry to figure out a way to get more people addicted to nicotine at a time when smoking in this country has been in decline.
Here is their approach: 1) Target teenagers, 2) Make the product very cool (sexy), 3) Make it in as many flavors as possible, and 4) Put nicotine in the product.
The result: Teenagers are increasingly using vape pens (e-cigarettes) and becoming addicted to nicotine and putting themselves at risk of smoking combustible cigarettes.
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are some FAQs (Courtesy of Smoke Free America) about vaping:
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling a vaporized liquid from an electronic device. The vapor commonly contains nicotine, flavoring and other additives. It also can contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes the user feel “high.”
What are the different vape products?
Popular terms for vaping devices include JUULs, e-cigarettes, e-cigs, smokeless cigarettes, vaporizers, vape, vape pens, vapor pens, mods, tanks, cigalikes, e-hookah and hookah pens. These vary widely in size, shape and design. Some look like computer flash drives or highlighters, while others are bulky and box-like.
What is in a vape juice or e-liquid?
Vape juice, e-liquid, JUULpods – these are all names for the liquid that is vaporized into an aerosol cloud. Vape juice most commonly contains three ingredients: propylene glycol and/or glycerin, chemicals for flavoring, and nicotine.
The pods for JUULs, the brand name of the most popular vaping device among teens, contains nicotine 100 percent of the time. The amount of nicotine in one JUULpod has the same amount of nicotine in an entire pack of cigarettes. Some vape pods can also contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes the user feel “high.” Complicating the issue, vaping doesn’t give off the telltale smell of smoking marijuana or cigarettes.
Is vaping healthier than smoking cigarettes?
Though some may claim vaping is less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, that doesn’t mean that vaping is safe. In other words, “safer” doesn’t mean safe. Studies have shown that the aerosol vapor can contain dangerous toxins, including heavy metals and chemicals known to cause cancer and other diseases. 1
Most vape devices contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Human brain development continues far longer than was previously realized (until age 25), and nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood has been associated with lasting brain impairments, including effects on working memory and attention. 2
There are also no standard regulations for vape manufacturers. Even with more than 450 different types of vape products, there are no universal standards for product design, ingredients and safety features. 3
More troubling, some vape products are owned by big tobacco companies, which have a history of prioritizing sales over safety.4
Some teens say they just vape flavors, without nicotine or THC. Is that possible?
While some vapes do not contain nicotine or THC, most do. In fact, 100 percent of JUULs – teens’ top choice for vaping devices – contain nicotine. And each JUUL pod contains the same amount of nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. Plus, studies have shown that most vaping products labeled “nicotine free” actually contain nicotine.5 For teens who don’t want to become addicted to nicotine, the safest option is not to vape at all.
Can teens under age 18 legally vape and buy these products?
Vape devices and paraphernalia cannot legally be sold to or used by anyone under the age of 18.
How can I tell if or what kids are vaping?
That’s part of the problem – it can be very hard to tell if a teen is vaping. Not only do manufacturers make discreet devices that resemble flash drives, highlighters and more, but they also do not have the same strong odor that is often a giveaway for parents and teachers. Vaping is so discreet, in fact, that students have been known to vape during class.