Should Vaping be Banned?
By: Michelle Kim
“More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease” (cdc.gov). For many years, smoking has become engraved in our culture. However, over the past several decades, cigarette smoking has declined significantly in the U.S among youth and young adults. Although there is a decrease in cigarette smoking, there has been a slow increase in the use of emerging tobacco products in recent years. One of the reasons for this is the inventions of vape and e-cigarettes. The vape was first introduced in 2003, as an e-cigarette, an electronic device that simulates tobacco smoking. There has been a dramatic rise in the use of vapes among the youth. From the smoker’s perspective, vaping creates a new value proposition and is less harmless compared to traditional smoking. When vape was first introduced, it was considered a “healthy” alternative to cigarettes as it was less harmful than smoking. In reality vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, however, it is still very harmful to the body. Similar to traditional smoking, vape produces gas that allows users to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings, and other additives. Any amount of nicotine is said to have an altering effect on the brain making vapes more addictive than cigarettes. One pod of vape is equal to smoking one whole pack of cigarettes. Although vaping may be a healthier alternative compared to cigarettes, vaping should be banned because its false advertising to the public causes more people to use vapes, when in reality it has harmful effects on the body physically, mentally, and is highly addictive.
“Over the last 60 years, cigarette companies have been forced to stop making health claims and add health warnings. Stop radio and TV commercials, celebrity endorsements, event sponsorships, and movie product placements. Stop using billboards, cute cartoon mascots, and reassuring words like light and mild. These rules don’t apply–at least, not yet–to electronic cigarettes, the battery-powered gizmos that convert the liquid nicotine into a vapor inhaled by the ‘vaper'” (McCullough). Today vapes are being marketed using all these forbidden tactics plus the internet innovations. For example, “… several e-cigarette companies are advertising their products as “vitamin delivery devices” and “weight management aids” for appetite reduction” (Basanez). As a result, there are others that have turned to vape because e-cigarette vendors have marketed it to be safer and cheaper than regular cigarettes. “E-cigarettes and vaping devices purportedly used for healthy lifestyle goals should not be permitted under the current regulations because there is no evidence to date that vitamin delivery through e-cigarettes confers health benefits” (Basanez). These companies have been placing misleading labels on their products and often falsely claim that their products are safe and healthy. However, they fail to disclose the toxic chemicals contained within the product. In fact, many of these companies completely leave out ingredients on the label. Because of the increased marketing as well as the introduction of new products, the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers has increased dramatically since 2010. However, many of these e-cigarette and vape users are the younger generation, teens. The younger a person is, the more vulnerable they are, and these companies take advantage of that by saying that vaping is “the new trend”, “it’s not harmful”, “it’s cool”, and appeal to them more by creating different kinds of interesting flavors. “About 85% of the students said they used flavored vapes, especially fruit, candy, mint and menthol flavors” (Fox). This form of marketing is highly irresponsible and should be completely restricted from the marketplace.
People usually have varying opinions about vaping, but it is evident that there are harmful effects on the human body. Some people believe that vaping is an effective way to quit smoking traditional cigarettes as they believe it is a “healthier” alternative. However, vaping is no different from traditional cigarettes. While more research is needed to determine the efficacy of vaping in helping people quit smoking, based on current research vaping is detrimental to the body. The inhalation of any harmful chemicals can cause irreversible lung damage and diseases. According to a Johns Hopkins lung cancer surgeon, Stephen Broderick, “Vaping is a delivery system similar to a nebulizer, which people with asthma or other lung conditions may be familiar with” (hopkinsmedicine.org). So when a person inhales from a vape, the vape coats the lungs with potentially harmful chemicals eventually leading to “popcorn lungs”. Bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), also known as “popcorn lungs”, is a “rare condition that results from damage of the lungs’ small airways. BO was originally discovered when popcorn factory workers started getting sick. The culprit was diacetyl, a food additive used to simulate butter flavor in microwave popcorn” (hopkinsmedicine.org). This same exact food addictive can be found in the vape, meaning vaping can cause the exact same damage, maybe even worse. However, that is not the main problem, the most worrisome to the public-health experts is that e-cigs and vapes are increasingly popular among youths. “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 10 percent of teens used e-cigs in 2012, more than double the rate just a year earlier” (McCullough). “More than 2 million US teens say they use e-cigarettes, with a quarter of them saying they vape daily” (Fox). This is really concerning, especially for these young kids’ health as they are still adolescents. Exposure to nicotine and other harmful chemicals at this time and age can not only harm their lungs but also can harm the developing brain. These chemicals affect the parts of the brain that controls attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. These young kids get addicted to vapes and e-cigarettes eventually leading them to start vaping on a daily basis. With them vaping on a daily basis, the brain starts to get frazzled by all the nicotine inhaled, tricking the brain into thinking that it cannot function with nicotine, becoming dependent. Sooner or later it becomes harder to withdraw from it as inhaling nicotine becomes a daily routine and part of the lifestyle.
Even with all these consequences from vaping, some may find that vaping shouldn’t be banned as it can be beneficial to others. There are those who choose to vape for a valid reason. “Those who are trying to quit traditional smoking often transition to vaping, which is a much healthier alternative. Those suffering from chronic illness, mental health problems and stress also turn to vaping for relief” (Sheeran). For example, from the pandemic, many people have fallen into a state of depression, anxiety, and stress. From this“a large majority of young people who have used e-cigarettes started vaping because of feelings of stress, anxiety or depression, and many continue vaping to cope with these feelings” (truthinitative.org). There are others who say vaping shouldn’t be banned because it infringes on personal freedoms. According to University wire, Helen Claire McNulty states, “I believe that it is not the government’s job to restrict what goes in our bodies, especially when we give informed consent. I have never vaped and never plan to. Despite this, I do not think that it is fair for someone to restrict someone else’s freedom because he or she does not agree with the action.” People actually believe that building a “better” vape can be used as a cigarette replacement without harming people detrimentally. However, that cannot be the case because, in reality, vaping is not much different than smoking a cigarette.
Even though vaping is considered a healthier alternative, it should be banned because of its harmful effects on the body physically and mentally and it is highly addictive. With all this false advertising going around and convincing more people to vape, the number of people smoking will not decrease, instead, it will soon increase. As people get addicted to these chemicals, they start to rely on them more. Smoking one vape pod a day is equivalent to smoking one whole pack of cigarettes a day. In reality, people that already vape are more likely to smoke cigarettes than people who don’t. Many efforts were made to prohibit the influence of tobacco ever since smoking became a norm. However, with this new device, it can destroy and backtrack the progress that has been made as well as create new problems in the future. So, to prevent this from happening vaping bans should be created to sustain healthy human life.
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