Imagine waking up on a work or school day. What are some of the first things you do when you wake up? Brush your teeth? Check your phone? Drink some water? What about taking a hit out of your favorite flavored e-cigarette?
Over the course of the last month, there has been immense pressure mounting on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the popularity of vaping among teenagers. This tension resulted in the Trump administration deciding to launch a prohibition of all flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market, including popular flavors like menthol and mint, which manufacturers have argued to exclude.
The course taken by the FDA is one that should be copied throughout Congress. Vaping has been and still is an extremely dangerous, yet accessible for teens interested. However, this is the first action taken by higher authority to halt any further vaping, but is there more that we can do?
E-cigarettes have been advertised for years as the “cure to stop yourself from smoking,” but, in many cases it has been more difficult to quit while vaping than not. A study done by the New England Journal of Medicine, in which they assigned 900 people who actively wanted to quit smoking with either e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement products, found that among those who were assigned vaping, 18% had stopped smoking and over 80% had continued to smoke.
How about instead of promoting e-cigarettes as a treatment to stop smoking, we ban them completely? The access to vapes and Juuls have become almost as easy as finding a Trump tweet in the early a.m. Ironically, it’s this presidential administration that may actually move to go through with the ban.
They are available everywhere and anywhere in some parts of the country, at your local supermarket and the corner 7-11, at the liquor store or even the ever so prevalent smoke shops that are as common nowadays as mass shootings across the US.
The most sickening aspect of the readily available e-cigarettes is the notion that more and more of these “smoke shops” are beginning to stock up these items in order to sell to fiending teenagers, some of whom have not hit full puberty yet.
But why focus on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes? Why not all vaping devices? This past summer, The New York Times reported close to 500 “vaping-related respiratory illnesses,” and added that there are “possible links to six deaths,” with teenage use continuing to increase at an extraordinary rate. Agency officials hoped making flavored products less accessible would reduce teenage use, but they were easily proven wrong.
According to Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary of the United States, “five million minors, mostly in their high school years, reported that they had used e-cigarettes recently.” Also, about one-quarter of the nation’s high school students reported vaping within the last 30 days in this year’s annual survey, up from 20% last year.
The question of banning e-cigarettes lies not only in the safety of our citizens, but the future of our children. The question of banning all e-cigarettes is one the country should look to answer.
In a government where we struggle to put together legislation and act upon mass shootings, the least we can do is move towards banning vapes. If we can’t act against guns and its availability in this country, especially with school shooters, the least we can do is get rid of e-cigarettes entirely before it is too late.
Vapes or AR-15s?
Pick your poison.