In a staggering estimate, some 3,000 teens — every day — will adopt a life-threatening addiction to nicotine that very well may last a lifetime. And might end up killing them.
According to the American Medical Association, the recent rise in electronic cigarette use is to be considered a “pediatric epidemic.” More than 25% of high school seniors have admitted to vaping nicotine within the past month. Unbelievable. Regulatory action needs to be taken to save the lives of many.
Opposed to this idea, vaping companies are reluctant to slow production of their vaporizers. They claim to make their products solely to help adults quit smoking. To achieve this aim, vape companies have created multiple flavors that entice taste buds to rid the mind of the need for a cigarette.
The enticing flavors likely are a leading cause in the start of the addiction, especially among youths. Mango, berry and mint, for example, are all more appealing compared to tobacco, the taste of cigarettes.
In an article published on Slate.com, “Don’t Ban E-Cigarettes,” writer Jacob Grier asserted that banning e-cigarettes will only force those already addicted into using other products. If the source of nicotine is eliminated, substitutes will be used, and they unfortunately may be more dangerous.
Although e-cigarettes and vapor products were originally designed to wean smokers off a nasty habit, the government, in my view, is justified in regulating the sale of these products because of the increase in health care costs, nicotine addiction in teens and negative health effects.
The Trump administration just placed a “temporary ban on many candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
And last month, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, President Donald Trump raised the “federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.”
E-cigarettes are not considered a legitimate health product, so the premiums on them are kept high for users. This is because smokers are a larger financial risk.
Viciously and rapidly, nicotine addiction has become a serious concern for health officials. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that tobacco use has risen within the last year. The increase in usage has been attributed to the popularity of new flavors and appealing colors.
As well as increasing health care costs and addiction, health risks also worry some. Heavy metals are being ingested, not just nicotine. Fatalities also have been reported due to lung injuries caused by e-cigarette usage. In 2018, a vape pen exploded, fracturing one teen’s jaw.
Given the consequences — ranging from the increase in health care costs, to nicotine addiction, to negative health effects — it is clear that vaporizers and e-cigarettes should be consistently regulated. How much harm will be caused before further action is taken?
Emily Folker is in grade 11 at Ephrata High School.