Will E-Cigarettes Scar a Generation?
Generation Z has succumb to the temptations of e-cigarettes, a generation likely to never smoke cigarettes. Will this cause long term health effects and lasting damage?
The amount of cigarette smokers has significantly decreased overtime and no longer is it commonplace to smoke cigarettes for leisure or in public settings. So why is it that now in 2019 there have been so many children and young adults having health complications that trace back to smoking? The e-cigarette industry. In the 1960s, more than 40 percent of the United States adult population smoked cigarettes (National Center for Health Statistics 2005). As time went on, the health effects that are a result of long term tobacco use were prevalent. Soon, parents and teachers were encouraging the younger generations to not smoke cigarettes. In 2017, 14% of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. The message of anti-smoking in America is still prevalent, however these messages do not include vaping. Vaping has changed Generation Z. Without making a serious change to the standards and regulations of the e-cigarette industry, these products will continue to be mass produced and made easily accessible to younger generations.
Particular brands, like the most common used e-cigarette, juul have marketed specifically towards young adults. The discrete design of the juul makes it very easy to conceal and hide. About 68% of the $2 billion e-cigarette market are using the juul. (National Center for Health Research 2019). The juul uses cartridges or pods that are flavored and one juul pod is equal to 20 cigarettes. The fruity flavors make these very appealing to children, teens and young adults.
Children are able to bring these e-cigarettes into school since the design was made specifically to be discreet and easy to conceal. Many children use their e-cigarettes in class while the teachers back is turned. Other children are introduced to this behavior in school by other children and it is extremely easy to join in or be peer pressured into it. Most children think that vaping is just something fun and satisfying to do without any knowledge of the serious health concerns that stem from vaping.
Without informing people on the effects of vaping, they will continue to believe that they are being safe by not smoking cigarettes. While vaping is the healthier option out of the two, it is still not healthy. The media has done a good job deterring people from smoking cigarettes and highlighting the health effects. There are many commercials that show lungs after smoking cigarettes, and other effects on the body. These same commercials should be made about vaping. Showing people the serious effects will help put and end to the idea that vaping is a healthy alternative.
“As of October 2019, 18 deaths and more than 1,000 cases of serious lung illness related to e-cigarettes have been reported in the media,” (National Center for Health Research 2019). Most teens and young adults think that they are being smart and healthy by not smoking cigarettes, but instead smoking e-cigarettes. This is not true. The effects of vaping are intense and real. There have been many cases of young adults being hospitalized for the effects of smoking, without ever smoking a cigarette a day in their lives. Vaping effects the lungs in the same way that cigarettes do and also cause popcorn lungs.
E-cigarette companies should be reprimanded for marketing to teens and young adults. The only changes made to the e-cigarette industry by the government have been a ban on flavored pods for the e-cigarettes. While this helps deter some people, the addictive quality is in the nicotine itself, not the flavor of the pod. Once e-cigarettes do not meet the needs of teens and young adults, they will move on to cigarettes where they can still feed their nicotine addiction. “A 2017 study found that non-smoking adults were four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes after only 18 months of vaping, which includes juuling”, (National Center for Health Research 2019).
The message of not smoking e-cigarettes should be spread throughout the media. Health classes in schools should inform children on the effects of vaping. There should be commercials about anti-vaping the same way there is about anti-smoking. The percentage of people who vape needs to drop, while the message of anti-vaping is spread. Children can not continue down this road of vaping. Without changing the standards and regulations of the e-cigarette industry, these products will continue to be mass produced and made easily accessible to younger generations. The message of anti-vaping must be spread throughout homes and schools, younger generations must be educated on the health effects. Change is desperately needed.