In a world where everything has become accessible and everything can be seen with just one click, adolescents are indulging in things that might “look cool” but are having long-term effects on their health.
“I vape in between the time I smoke marijuana,” One high school student admitted. “Sometimes I use it as a substitute for weed honestly. I get a little buzz, it tastes good and it just makes me feel good…It’s actually better for me when I don’t want to spend money on weed.”
From 2011 to 2015 E-cigarette and vaporizer usage grew a breathtaking 900 percent. Data collected by the Connecticut Department of Public Health in 2017, indicate that 14.7 percent of students use a vaporizer and 7.2 percent of them have been using since 2015.The Food and Drug Administration declared that teenage use E-cigarettes has reached an “epidemic proportion.” The FDA has informed more than 1,000 retailers that they have 60 days to show that they can keep their products away from teenagers.
Social media plays a big role in the distribution of vaporizers and E-cigarettes. Thousands of ads flood Facebook, Instagram and Amazon without enforcing any age restrictions. Thousands of videos of people using the products and performing “smoke tricks” are posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for millions to see, including pre-teens and high school students.
This form of marketing leads to people trying to emulate what they see online.
To combat this promotion, Juul, the major E-cigarette distribution company has stepped up its monitoring of advertisements to young people and those ads that don’t enforce age requirements. By the request of Juul, Instagram has removed more 4,500 posts that marketed their product but did not enforce the age requirements. Facebook removed only 45 of 144 posts and Amazon removed only 13 of 33.
The use of the products has caught the attention of health professionals, who warn young people about the dangers of vaporizer and E-cigarette use, along with nicotine consumption.
Vaporizer and E-cigarette users ingest far fewer chemicals than traditional smokers, but they are also prone to take in higher levels of the chemical nicotine, which is addictive.
A statement released by the FDA quoted health professionals as saying, “The developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to addiction.”
Addiction is not the only health risk that E-cigarettes and vaporizers pose. They have been linked to different forms of cancers, lung disorders and DNA damage.
Dr. Sam Chang, a professor of urologic surgery at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, stated in a press release, “We’ve known traditional smoking raises bladder cancer risk, and given the surge in popularity of e-cigarettes, it’s imperative we uncover any potential links between e-cigarettes and bladder cancer”
The researchers found that e-cigarettes damage bladder tissue. The discovery also showed that nicotine, nitrosamines and formaldehyde block DNA repair, raising cancer risk.
It was reported that after vaping for three weeks, a teen was admitted to the hospital with sharp chest pains, heavy breathing and coughing. She was diagnosed as having the condition known as wet lung, an inflammatory disease triggered by the immune system after toxins are inhaled. The teen had to use a mechanical ventilator to assist breathing, and she received chest tubes to drain excess fluid that had accumulated in her lungs.
Doctors strongly recommend parents and pediatricians talk with young people about the risks of using vaporizers and E-cigarettes. The health risks associated with them can alter a child’s life permanently. Whether young people are using these products because they are following a trend, or there is an underlying connection between E-cigarettes and vaporizers and smoking marijuana, we must crackdown and find a solution to stop children from consuming these products.