Vaping among young adults is on the rise

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Maya Gayler

Managing Editor

Cody Wallace began smoking cigarettes because of the influence he was surrounded by, but then switched to Juul.

“Back in high school, I had an ex-girlfriend, and I used to smoke cigarettes really bad.”  Wallace said. He decided to quit because he realized the negative health effects of smoking and did not want to ruin his body anymore.

Wallace was a cheerleader in high school and now cheers for TJC. He noticed a difference in his health during practice after he began smoking. Wallace then decided to pick up a Juul due to the easy access of being able to do it anytime.

Juul is an e-cigarette product that is being used by teens and young adults. It resembles a flash drive and can easily be concealed.

According to Yale Medicine, “National Cancer Institute (NCI) describes cigarettes as having more than 7,000 chemicals in them. E-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals and so the industry has presented them as a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes.”

Since e-cigs have been introduced “as a healthier alternative,” more teens and young adults pick them up.

The Truth is an anti-tobacco campaign that focuses on lowering teen tobacco use. They have lowered the use of cigarettes, but vaping is their next challenge.

According to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, e-cigarettes were introduced in the American market in 2006, but then were quickly suspended due to lack of knowledge and regulations.

It took a few years for them to be widely sold in the US. Originally, e-cigs were marketed to adults who were trying to quit smoking. Juice flavors, such as, cotton candy, cheesecake and Girl Scout cookies were introduced. This helped e-cigarettes attract a younger market.

Young adults are more willing to vape than to smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products. About 100 students participated in a questionnaire. The majority answered “yes” to, “Do you think vaping is more socially acceptable?”

An article about teen vape use from CNN Health states that, “e-cigarettes–also known as vapes–were the ones most commonly used by teens.”  Most of the young adults who participated answered “No”, to the question “Have you ever smoked cigarettes?” These same young adults claimed to vape.

“I was given one [a Juul] for free and so I just used it since then,” said sophomore Shelby Smith. Smith has never smoked cigarettes before, but decided to become part of the vape culture.

Many times, when teens and young adults choose to vape, it is not because of the nicotine, but the act of vaping and culture that surrounds it.

There are still some young adults who smoke cigarettes.

“I was going to a lot of shows, and everyone would go outside to smoke … it was just the culture I was around,” sophomore Holly Griffin said.

Griffin went to a lot of alternative rock shows in the Austin area. She was constantly around an older crowd that smoked, so she was influenced by that. Since Griffin has been in Tyler for school, she has been smoking less.

Nicotine is still a key factor in most e-cig products, such as the Juul. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that vaping can still be harmful because of the addiction to nicotine.

Lawmakers are trying very hard to cut down on the amount of underage vaping. Many vape shops require an ID to prove the customer is 18 years or older. There are verification processes for online vape sales.

In a recent story from NBC news, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb argues that the fruity flavors put into e-cigarette products are the reason for teen use of vape products.

The FDA is fighting for stricter laws surrounding e-cigarette products. They are asking for cooperation from e-cig companies.

According to the NBC news story, “Juul has launched an advertising campaign to point out that e-cigarettes are for adults only.”

There are many negative effects that can be caused by vaping, but they are not widely advertised like with cigarettes.

According to the American Lung Association, vaping can cause  “a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways.” This is known as popcorn lung.

Teens and young adults are using more e-cigarette products because of peer pressure, culture and addiction.

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