LTE for Portfolio – imagination

Insert Title Here

To the Editor:

Re: “We Still Don’t Know How Safe Vaping Is” Published Sept. 5th, 2019

The Editorial Board warns of frightening number of deaths and serious illnesses that have stricken teenage vapers. E-cigarettes are unsafe for teens and young adults and should be banned. Vape can kill or sicken, but even those who escape those immediate dangers will become addicted to nicotine. Young adults who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future. Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections or synapses are built between brain cells. Teens build synapses faster than adults. The nicotine in these e-cigarettes changes the synapses that are formed. Using nicotine as a young teen and young adult will increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.

Vapes are filled with many unknown chemicals, where most of these chemicals can cause eye nasal and respiratory tract infections and irritations. Vapes are harmful, just like cigarettes. The nicotine content of one vape pod is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. Addiction to these products can impact the ability to focus. Also, these products increase heart rate and blood pressure. I had a friend who used to vape and ended up in the emergency room on separate occasions who had these symptoms and ended up with a respiratory tract infection.

Vaping may also lead to cancerous tumor development. E-cigarettes run on batteries and heat up nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. Many chemicals that cause cancer are in this vapor. That includes formaldehyde, heavy metals, and particles that can get stuck in the deepest parts of your lungs. E-cigarettes used during pregnancy can lead to early labor, low birth weight, and even stillbirth. The nicotine can cause placental damage and can cause blood vessels to narrow which means less oxygen and fewer nutrients are getting to the baby.  This is very dangerous.  It can harm the baby’s brain development and slow down the growth of their lungs.  Nicotine used during pregnancy can lead to early labor, low birth weight, and even stillbirth. Banning these e-cigarettes will not only prevent more deaths, cancer and stillbirths, but also prevent teens who haven’t used them, to start using them.

Because they eliminate “smoke,” e-cigarettes are considered safer than tobacco, but it’s false advertising to market them without evidence as “safe.” Used by former smokers to quit tobacco, they have obvious advantages, but because they’re not FDA approved and can contain countless untested ingredients, we can’t even guess why they’re killing our teens so quickly, or addicting those who don’t get rushed to the emergency room. Not to mention teens who start with candy-flavored vape and “graduate” to tobacco cigarettes.

Statistics show that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes rather than cigarettes, of course. Teens and young adults use e-cigarettes and other vaping products for many reasons. One reason is because a friend or family use or have used them. Another is because of the availability of flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit, etc. Also because of the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of tobacco. Other reasons teens may be using these devices are because they see famous people on TV or movies use them, they are easier to get than other tobacco products, they cost less than other tobacco products and can be used in areas where tobacco products are not allowed.

Parents should familiarize themselves with these e-cigarette and vaping devices to better understand and convey the risks to their kids and so that they are more aware of the hazards. It would seem easy for parents to stop their kids from vaping but they closely resemble flash drives. Detecting e-cigarette use can be difficult. Some products may send off large, obvious plume but many aren’t so noticeable. Teens who use them are really good at hiding them. They can easily blow it into their hoodie or into their sleeve. It’s important for parents to know product brands and what they look like. It’s also important for them to have open and honest discussion with their kids about these products, the potential dangers and why they should not use them.

To start banning e-cigarettes and other vaping products, we should limit tobacco marketing; have regulatory initiatives that ban youth-focused marketing efforts to help cub smoking’s appeal to young people. We should have campaigns that educate teens and help them understand how tobacco companies exploit them and these campaigns should be supported by school and family based programs. We should definitely provide ‘quit smoking’ programs. Affordable and accessible smoking programs can help young smokers quit as well as parents who want to model healthier behavior.

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7 Responses to LTE for Portfolio – imagination

  1. davidbdale says:

    This is good work, Portfolio, very thorough and well-reasoned. You’ve provided lots of evidence and you leave no doubt that you want e-cigarettes banned, at first seemingly forever, and everywhere, for everyone; later your position is much more modified: age limitations, for example instead of outright bans.

    I think I can best help you by focusing your attention on the main idea of every paragraph in the hope that you’ll press every sentence into the service of that idea.

    P1. (Danger) Vape can kill or sicken, but even those who escape those immediate dangers will become addicted to nicotine.

    P1. (Synapses) You need a separate paragraph for the “learned behavior” material. The chain-reaction is too much for P1. The cancerous tumors and stillbirths presumably happen only after years of addiction, not immediately. (But that’s not clear.)

    P2. Not sure you need another paragraph to recommend the ban if you’ve already done so in your P1. This paragraph also repeats the death claim of P1. So, a reorganization of P1 and P2 would be helpful.

    P3. This is your best paragraph for its focus and logical connections. Because/but/Used by/they have advantages/but/because/we can’t guess/they kill/not to mention. All those transition points guide the reader from one point to the next.

    P4. Most writers on this topic seek a villain. You’re unique here in spreading the blame. Your point, then, I think would be that there are SO MANY reasons for teens to choose e-cigarettes we won’t be able to gently dissuade them. VERY STRONG MEASURES will be needed. Can you organize around that bold claim?

    P5. You don’t name your main idea here either, Imagination. If the point of P4 is TEENS WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO DISSUADE, what would be the similarly-stated point of P5?

    P6. There’s no clear main idea here, Imagination. Of course you want to include the personal anecdote, but readers are more likely to stick with you if you move this claim VERY NEAR the top to create urgency. The rest of the claims in this paragraph have been made elsewhere and are not needed. Once they’re gone, it’s obvious the paragraph is needed ONLY for the personal anecdote. So, move it up and make it pay off.

    P7. Odd that you’re backing off your TOTAL BAN demand in P2. As for the rest, in my opinion the Editors would excise the entire block of tobacco claims. It would be very pertinent in a long-form essay on all the hazards of e-cigarettes, but for an LTE about a specific threat, it’s just too diffuse.

    Consider everything I’ve said to be a recommendation, Imagination. If the notes make sense to you, I hope they’ll help you organize more effectively, but they are after all my opinion, not a set of rules. Either way, I’d love to know your reaction. And by all means, invite me to read your “final” version if you revise. The Feedback window may be closed, but I’m still interested. Thanks!

    Like

  2. davidbdale says:

    P1. In the article, the Editorial Board discuss the issues surrounding vaping and how health issues have skyrocketed, especially in youth.
    —This is a slow start. Vague language like “the issues surrounding vaping” don’t convey any urgency. Consider a simple alternative: The Editorial Board warns of frightening number of deaths and serious illnesses that have stricken teenage vapers.
    —That’s a general recommendation for all sentences, imagination. “Warming up” or “introductory” sentences are suffered by readers until they tire of weeding through the extra language and move on to stories that make better use of their time.

    E-cigarettes are unsafe for teens and young adults.
    —It’s not too early to say, “and should be banned” if that’s where you’re headed. You can substantiate your claims after you make them instead of slowly building a case and hoping readers agree with you when you’re ready to divulge them.

    These vaping products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and other harmful substances and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues to early mid-20s.
    —This is a fine sentence, and I don’t want you to get the idea that I simply like to reject everything I read. I do like to offer alternatives though that deliver more meaning more quickly. You’re working out a case for BOTH short- and long-term dangers here. Teens are dying and suffering serious illnesses ALREADY. But those who avoid the short-term dangers are BECOMING ADDICTED to a dangerous substance with long-term risks as well. If you make that claim early, you can save some language when you offer the details.

    P3. It’s hard to see how vaping could be appealing, until realized they put them on the market as a “safe” alternative to cigarettes. According to health officials, based on existing evidence, most doctors and scientists think e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. Marketing vapes as safe is false but marketing them as “safer” is a whole other concept that is debated everyday. E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are not risk-free. There is no evidence that these devices are, in fact, safe. E-cigarettes seem to have many people think of them as a useful tool to quit smoking. But majority of the people using e-cigarettes are not using it exclusively to try to quit smoking. Some young people begin to smoke cigarettes only after using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved. Manufacturers and distributors of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices were not bound by standards of safety set by the FDA for smoked tobacco products. E-cigarette manufacturers are free to project a risk-free image in their marketing, and offer enticing, candy-like flavors that appeal to young adults.

    As an example, I’ve condensed the claims in Paragraph 3, I think without major loss of meaning:

    P3. Because they eliminate “smoke,” e-cigarettes are considered safer than tobacco, but it’s false advertising to market them without evidence as “safe.” Used by former smokers to quit tobacco, they have obvious advantages, but because they’re not FDA approved and can contain countless untested ingredients, we can’t even guess why they’re killing our teens so quickly, or addicting those who don’t get rushed to the emergency room. Not to mention teens who start with candy-flavored vape and “graduate” to tobacco cigarettes.

    You may have thought you were finished with this project when you produced your impressive new draft, Imagination. And if you’re satisfied with it, then you certainly can call it finished. But I hope you’ll consider it still a draft that can be improved.

    Thank you for keeping the conversation going so far. I enjoy the interaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. davidbdale says:

    My goodness, Imagination! You are clearly taking to heart my suggestion that you create a clear difference between your Draft Letter and your Letter for Portfolio!

    Now that you’ve expanded your sentences to full paragraphs, I imagine our next job will be to edit them down to a manageable length that could be published as a Letter to the Editor! 🙂

    I hope you won’t be discouraged by the work involved. Your responsiveness is impressive and heartening, so I want to congratulate and inspire you to do at least another round of revisions.

    Let’s get started.

    Like

  4. davidbdale says:

    imagination, you didn’t make a specific Feedback request. I will return to offer feedback, but first I’ll respond to your classmates who gave me guidance about the sort of responses they wanted.

    Like

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