image courtesy of health.mil
For years, companies have marketed vaping as a safe, cool alternative to smoking. The Onion jokingly called vaping the “cheaper alternative to traditional methods of looking cool,” but this method of “looking cool” proves to be detrimental as, in recent months, authorities have reported at least 1,888 injuries and 37 deaths that have resulted from vaping.
JUUL sales comprise over half the e-cigarette market; it is one of the fastest moving companies to date. The popular vape device, coming in small sizes and fun flavors, concerns health experts around the nation because it delivers nicotine straight to the bloodstream. By taking it straight to the bloodstream and releasing no second-hand smoke, the amount of nicotine taken is akin to smoking multiple cigarettes. Schools and various health organizations explore ways to stop this epidemic from spreading.
Yet, it’s still unclear what’s causing illnesses. Side effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, chest pains, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss after vaping have not been explained, but what is clear is that it is all connected to vaping.
However, some people still have not realized the danger and fatality of vaping. After aggressive marketing campaigns of various flavors aimed specifically at youth, Yale Medicine found that more than 3.6 million middle and high school students currently use e-cigarettes. In fact, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, “One in four high schoolers and one in ten middle schoolers have tried vaping in the last 30 days,” a staggering leap from the 4.5 pecent of users in 2014. The most worrisome part is that young people think vaping is harmless and less addictive than smoking, which is not true.
As vaping-initiated deaths continue to rise, government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, continue to take measures to counter the quickly spreading epidemic. The FDA announced that it will be trying to prevent illegal sales of e-cigarettes to minors and plans to reduce kid-friendly appeal of the products, such as different flavorings. Following recent unexplained illnesses and deaths that have been attributed to vaping, the CDC and the American Medical Association are conveying serious concern, suggesting that people should avoid vaping.
As illness and deaths rise, parents and schools continue to search for new and effective ways to curb the current trends.