The Truth About Vaping
By Sophia Lee – AD Youth Reporter
According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1 in 5 high school students in the United States smoked e-cigarettes in November of 2018. More alarming is the increase in usage among teens, going from around 220,000 students in 2011 to around 3.5 million in 2018. That’s a HUGE jump in just seven years!
Vaping is also becoming more popular with middle schoolers, with 1 in 20 students using e-cigarettes. The CDC attributes this surge to JUULs, a popular USB looking vape that is easier to hide, have higher nicotine content, and comes in many different flavors. The rise of advertisements from drug companies directed towards teenagers has also caused a surge in vaping.
Although federal law prohibits anyone under 18 to use, sell, or buy a vape, it hasn’t been able to stop the increase of minors from doing so. There are many misconceptions about vaping: that it does not have nicotine and it is less addictive than cigarettes. We will address these misconceptions and more in today’s article.
Misconception #1: By smoking e-cigs, you won’t smoke real cigarettes
Many teenagers who start vaping believe that they won’t smoke real cigarettes. This is very untrue. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a study has shown that high school students are seven more times as likely to smoke cigarettes in the next six months after reporting that they had smoked an e-cig in the last month. Many studies suggest that e-cigarettes actually encourage teenagers to smoke cigarettes. The association between the two has also been suggested in the study, Electronic Cigarette Use and Progression From Experimentation to Established Smoking, done by Chaffee BW, Watkins SL, and Glantz SA. It’s a known fact that smoking is bad for them, so why start smoking an e-cig unless… you want a smoking addiction.
Misconception #2: E-cigarettes help you quit smoking
Many people believe that by smoking e-cigarettes, they will stop their smoking addiction. This is untrue as proven in a study done on adult smokers in Europe. It was found that those who smoked e-cigarettes were less likely to quit and actually smoked more cigarettes than those who didn’t smoke e-cigarettes. This study can be found here. In a different study with more than 800 people using e-cigarettes in the hopes of quitting, only 9% of the people reported that they had quit after a year had passed. Both these studies show how ineffective e-cigarettes are in helping people who are trying to quit smoking. One of the ways that could actually help people in quitting is actually going “cold turkey”. In a recent study done by Nicola Lindson-Hawley, Miriam Banting, Robert West, Susan Michie, Bethany Shinkins, and Paul Aveyard, it showed that out of 700 participants, the group that quit more abruptly did better. Each group was given counseling support and nicotine patches or other short-acting nicotine replacements. There are plenty of alternatives to quit smoking that doesn’t include e-cigarettes.
Misconception #3: E-cigarettes don’t contain that much nicotine
Despite the common belief that e-cigarettes mainly contain JUUL flavoring, e-cigs actually have a LOT of nicotine. According to the JUUL website, a standard pod is around 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. If that isn’t clear enough, a JUUL pod EQUALS one pack of cigarettes!! That’s crazy! It’s now super easy to understand why so many teenagers are getting more and more addicted to JUULing or vaping.
Many vapers think that they’re going to take a couple of puffs of their JUUL until it’s 200 puffs later and now they’ve smoked a whole pack of cigarettes. Many teenagers are so uninformed that JUULs even contain nicotine. In a study done on JUUL users between the ages of 15 and 24 in April 2018, it was found that 63% of the users didn’t even know there was any nicotine in their JUUL! Many young users think they are just vaping flavoring instead of nicotine. Stay more informed about how drug companies are dragging in the younger generations to keep using nicotine. To find more information, go to the truth initiative website.
Misconception #4: E-cigs are safe
Well, this misconception is wrong in so many ways. E-cigarettes are just as “safe” as any other “real” cigarettes. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is a drug that causes a surge of adrenaline to stimulate the body, increasing heart rate and blood pressure. E-cigs may even prime the brain’s reward system, which would make it easier for vapers to turn to other drugs and get addicted.
An e-cigarette has many chemicals in the liquid formula that is vaped. This allows for many chemicals to enter your lungs at high levels such as toxic nickel and chromium. If that isn’t enough to stop you from vaping, several studies have shown that the device itself is also toxic. Toxic metal nanoparticles and low levels of cadmium can cause breathing issues.
Nicotine in a teenager’s body can cause even more problems. Impulse control and the brain circuits that control attention and learning could also be damaged. Don’t do drugs because it just isn’t worth all the risks. More information can be found here.
Do you know someone who vapes? Be sure to share this article with them and spread the word about how harmful e-cigarettes are!