E-cigarettes’ catch is coming to the light

photo of person holding vape
Photo by Rafael Lisita on Pexels.com

The most recent data from the World Health Organization estimates that there are 1.1 billion smokers around the world, and about eight million die annually. Out of those deaths, seven million are first-hand smokers and more than one million are second-hand smokers. 

To cease smoking is not an easy journey. Therefore, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known e-cigs or vapers, rapidly became a popular alternative to combustion cigarettes since their origin in 2003 in China.

However, on September 2008, WHO stripped electronic cigarettes of their good reputation as a smoking quitting aid and forced their manufactures to remove literature from their ads and packages.

Since then, based on numerous independent studies, countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United States have designated ENDSs as toxic and addictive. Therefore, these devices have been classified under the same category of tobacco products increasing their regulation and taxation.

Nevertheless, vaping became fashionable through heavy social media advertising and the vast array of flavoring. It was attractive not only to the people who want to quit smoking, but also more than 3.6 million middle and high-schoolers, according to the most recent data from CDC.

Even though there had been sporadic cases of intoxication and burns, it was only after the fifth fatal victim attributed to vaping was reported that the alarms were turned on. Up to last Friday, September 6th, 450 cases of severe pulmonary disease in 33 states had been filed with the CDC for investigation.

Although the CDC has not identified a single device or specific flavor as the sole cause of the vaping epidemic, the majority of patients (84%) in Illinois and Wisconsin, with an average age 19, reported vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis.

Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, chest pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

Smoking is a habit usually acquired during adolescence. I remember the long nicotine cigarretes or “ciggies” I used to smoke in college while waiting for class or while gossiping with friends. I also remember my mom’s sermons when I came home smelling like smoke.

In comparison, parents today are unaware. Kids come home smelling like cookies or bubble gum because vapers conceal whatever they have been smoking.

Vaping has been labeled cool, and it is hard to combat because it is not annoying. It doesn’t smell as cigarettes or cigars, so their users are not evicted from non-smoking areas like skunks.

Moreover, vaping stores continue to pop at every neighborhood across the country as if they were Dunkin Donuts. Despite the fact that they are prohibited from selling to minors, their presence normalizes the habit.

Authorities continue their efforts to prohibit flavors and packages that attract the most susceptible audience. The most recent example is the city of San Francisco, California. The fact that one the most liberal cities in the world banned e-cigarettes sales last June shows the situation is getting out of hand.

Once again, the only defense against this challenge is open communication between parents and kids about any type of smoking and its health risks.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora


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