You have heard and likely seen firsthand the far-reaching effects of the vaping craze.
What started off as a novelty thing that only a small niche percentage of the population was interested in has now come to be one of the biggest crazes to hit today.
Vaping has taken over and has exploded into a multi-million-dollar industry. From pens to atomizers and from additives like flavors, waxes, and oils, this nicotine alternative seems to be everywhere.
And that is part of what has led to the issue we are seeing today- many local areas and even entire states- banning the use of flavored vaping oils and liquids and more and more talks about banning the sale and greatly reducing the availability of all vaping products.
Is all of this just a matter of over-reacting or is there some validity to the concern people are now expressing when it comes to vaping products?
Valid Response or Knee-Jerk Reaction?
While it may seem like a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, there are some legitimate concerns being expressed and it is strong enough to lead to major changes in how states and local governments control and regulate this nicotine replacement product.
Many states are focusing on the banning of flavored nicotine vape products out of concern that these fun tasty flavors are making nicotine more appealing to youth and teenagers.
The move to ban flavoring is focused on reducing the chance of underaged minors becoming addicted to the products because they think it is a safe alternative to cigarettes.
A handful of states are working on or have already passed some form of legislature to reduce or outright ban flavoring but other states are taking it a step farther.
“The entire state of Massachusetts just announced the most intense ban on e-cigarettes yet… it outdid earlier vape bans in New York and Michigan by banning the sale of all vape products—not just flavored ones—for four months.
This fresh wave of e-cigarette outrage has been building for awhile now” (Esquire).
The biggest question right now is how many states are going to start following Massachusetts’ example and go after not just kid-friendly flavored vape products but all vaping products in general?
It is also still to be seen what this renewed concern over vaping will mean for the cigarette industry since vaping essentially is just another method of getting nicotine.
Concern Over Youth Use and Involvement
The concern lawmakers in states like Massachusetts are focused on not just the obvious appeal that these flavored vape oils and juices have towards younger populations, but also the overall safety and health concern that nicotine products have in general.
Everyone knows tobacco products are harmful and that the earlier someone starts using the easier it is for them to become addicted and the worse the results can be in terms of their health.“
The National Institute for Drug Abuse issued new data showing nearly 21 percent of high school seniors say they vaped a nicotine product within the past 30 days, up from 11 percent a year ago.
The increase, part of the annual Monitoring the Future survey on drug use among adolescents, was the largest for any substance use in the survey’s 43-year history” (USA Today).
It is the growing prevalence of statistics like this that is causing people to stop and give these vaping products a second, long and hard look in regards to their safety.
While vape products were originally made for adults are meant to be sold only to adults- just as cigarettes- they are finding their way into the hands of youth more and more easily.
With a vape shop seeming to pop up in every town, and with larger cities having one every few blocks it seems, it is easier than ever to find vaping products.
“About 3.6 million middle school, high school and college teens now use these battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor.
More than one in three high school seniors and nearly one in three sophomores say they vaped at least once in the past year, the new report found.
Up to 30 percent vaped for 20 or more days in the previous 30 days, a “clear sign of addiction,” says Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids” (USA Today).
CDC and Health Experts Advise Caution
Health representatives tend to agree that when dealing with adults, especially those who have already been smoking tobacco products, vaping may be a somewhat safer alternative for nicotine fixes.
For many adults, using vaping products has shown to be a helpful way for them to cut back on nicotine intake and it can help some people wean themselves off tobacco products completely.
This is all well and good and is something that needs to be taken into account as that is a valid and legitimate reasons why someone would want to use vape products.
The customization of vaping would allow someone to drop to half strength nicotine then down to quarter strength and either maintain a much lower exposure level or eventually wean themselves off completely.
However, the major issue health officials, government officials, many parents, and researches have in regards to vape products is the fear about kids using the devices and becoming hooked on them and becoming addicted to the nicotine in the products.
Helping adults reduce nicotine intake and break the habit and addiction is a positive, but that cannot come at the price of thousands of youth becoming addicted for the first time.
This is why there has been so much debate and concern over the past year when it comes to these products. This is also why major players like the Center for Disease Control is getting in on the debate as well.
“While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products.
People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.
Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer” (CDC) The most important thing to remember is that no nicotine is good for young people and anyone who is currently using nicotine products would be better off to stop using those products.
However, vaping may still have some benefits to offer, it is just a matter of time right now as the full scope of the effects and penitential impact of vaping can be established. It is sure to be a hot button topic for a number of years to come.
Where to Get Help and More Information About Vaping Safety
If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, contact your health care provider, or you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
Health care providers also can contact their local poison control center. The FDA encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected health or product issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette products to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal.