More and more people are switching to e-cigarettes. While it is one positive way to help longtime tobacco users quit, government officials are worried that vaping is growing in popularity among teenagers and young adults. According to the American Lung Association, almost all vaping products contain nicotine, even though they might claim otherwise. Flavors range from bubble gum to crème brûlée. This is believed to be the reason that many teens are trying it.
“Flavoring is an additive,” said Caroline White, senior manager of the Richland Health Center. “Anything that is not a natural substance is not good for your body.”
It’s something that many young consumers don’t consider to be a habit; however, U.S. health officials are calling it an “epidemic.”
According to The Associated Press (AP), the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is giving e-cigarette companies the choice to reverse the trend or risk having their products pulled from the market. The five companies involved are JUUL, VUSE, Blu, LOGIC and MarkTen.
Some college students at Richland explained their views on vaping.
“My mom used to smoke cigarettes and it made her look older than she was. When she started to vape, it was a way to get herself to stop smoking,” Madison Seelye, a freshman, said.
“It works for so many people to slowly lower your nicotine intake. [She] started looking so much healthier and younger because she stopped smoking cigarettes and she got healthier.”
“I think [vapes] are helpful in the sense that smoking can be very hazardous to the people around you but vaping cannot,” said Mikaela Madrid. “My grandma has this rare intolerance to cigarette smoke and when she smells it, her throat acts up. It’s hard for her to breathe and she loses her voice, whereas someone who’s vaping doesn’t bother her at all.”
Health advocates are concerned that the popularity of vapes among young people will have an impact on future smoking rates, according to AP. A government-issued report released in January found “substantial evidence” that young people who try vaping, are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
“It’s not a better alternative. They could be addicted to the substance or be addicted to the process. They’re both difficult to get rid of,” White said.
E-cigarettes have grown into a multibillion dollar industry in the U.S. and little is known about their long-term effects, according to AP. Although they are touted as being less dangerous than tobacco, health officials warn that nicotine in e-cigarettes can be harmful to users, including to the developing brains of younger people. The long-term effects of e-cigarettes are still being studied.