Staff Editorial: Educational programs necessary to deter adolescents from vaping

The use of e-cigarettes has become an increasingly popular phenomenon, particularly among teenagers and on college campuses. 

This trend is not only harmful in a physical sense, but it also perpetuates dangerous and addictive behaviors, while positively reinforcing smoking in social settings among young individuals.

The first prototype of an e-cigarette was created so that smokers could “enjoy the sensation of smoking without the risks specifically associated with tobacco cigarettes,” according to Go Smoke Free. While they first became popular among those aiming to quit their tobacco habits, e-cigarettes and vaping are now abused by those who have been addicted to nicotine or tobacco.

The perception of smoking becoming cool or trendy again will be extremely damaging to future generations—even when utilized in the form of an e-cigarette. The e-cigarette industry advertises that this form of smoking is not harmful: this is false and especially disgraceful when such messaging is aimed at teens.

“E-cigarette users were found to exhibit physiological effects not present in the nonusers, such as abnormalities in cardiovascular function that included higher oxidative stress levels and levels of adrenaline in the heart, an effect known as increased cardiac sympathetic activity,” The Washington Post reports.

Not only are e-cigarettes damaging to users, but “teenagers who vape are four times more likely to try smoking,” according to The Independent. Furthermore, “vaping with e-cigarettes that contain nicotine can be addictive and … teenagers who use these devices may be at higher risk of smoking,” as reported by The New York Times.

Considering nicotine is one of the most publicized and well-known addictive substances, “the only safe strategy is not to smoke at all,” according to ABC. 

The connection between vaping and a willingness to try or start smoking cigarettes among the younger generation is clear. This will also likely lead to an increased desire or pressure to smoke socially. While many feel that trying a cigarette will not lead to detrimental health implications, this is not true. “As soon as you take a drag from a cigarette … your blood pressure and heart rate start to rise … your blood flow to the capillaries decreases … and less oxygen reaches the brain, muscles and other organs,” according to ABC.

Overall, the vaping trend is extremely dangerous and any product encouraging young adults to smoke, whether it be cigarettes or e-cigarettes, should not be consumed. It is imperative that more outreach programs become available to educate individuals on specific risks and that teenagers hold themselves and their friends accountable when it comes to avoiding tobacco products.