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The Dangers of Vaping

Remember the days of “sneaking a cigarette,” far from the prying eyes of judgmental adults? Well, thanks to the rise of the e-cigarette, those days are gone. E-cigarettes enable users to grab a smoke anytime, anywhere; a trend that has parents, teachers, and the government extremely worried.

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The Dangers of Vaping

How worried? Just recently, JUUL Labs — which boasts more than 70 percent of the U.S. e-cig market — was compelled by the FDA to remove some of its fruity-flavored products from shelves and end its social media promotions. The FDAalso plans to unveil a series of measures aimed at curbing teenage vaping, including a ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations, as well as curbs on online sales.

What, exactly, is vaping?

There are various types of tobacco products in the vape family that deliver a concentrated punch of nicotine to its user. Some of these products are sleek and small in size, such as the JUUL. In many ways, new devices like these are unique compared to other e-cigarettes. Its internal mechanisms prevent overheating, and the amount of nicotine it contains is much greater than that contained in other e-cigarettes.

What’s being done about vaping?

Because some of these products are so new, vapes and their precise effects are supported by a relatively small base of research. Still, the FDA has warned the public and is trying to prevent use among underage buyers. They are currently investigating multiple companies and request their marketing and usage statistics. As for consumers, although the dangers of nicotine are well documented, the lack of research available on e-cigarette products can mean only one thing: Users have no idea just how damaging vaping can be…. And probably will not know for quite some time.

Why is it dangerous?

A general danger surrounds all kinds of smoking, even the smoking of e-liquids. Nicotine is a stimulant, and taking it into the body multiple times a day for a prolonged period of time will impact the body and brain negatively.
Varying respiratory problems are the most well-known issues to arise from smoking. Other long-term issues are associated with tobacco product usage too: heart disease, early onset dementia, premature wrinkles, and other health defects which depend on the type of tobacco product being used.
Apart from being a tobacco product, the design of these new vaping devices creates further risks. When compared to the vape, the greater dangers of products like the JUUL lie not only in its health risks and aggressive marketing but also in how sneaky it is. Students can get away with smoking these devices in the classroom with teachers present. The smoke clouds are small and easy to conceal, and the device itself, which charges on a computer, looks like a flash drive.

Why should you be concerned?

U.S. officials state that vaping has increased by 75% among high schoolers from 2017 to 2018. The appealing flavors and easy access of recent products have exponentially increased smoking among young people, including those who have not previously used nicotine.
The various e-liquid flavors play a significant role in adolescent use. JUUL pods come in flavors such as Virginia tobacco, mint, cucumber, creme, mango, and fruit. Although adults are more likely to use e-cigarettes, e-liquid flavor preference is associated with adolescents. Fruity flavors, such as mango and fruit, are more widely used among youth and because of their closeness to the candy family, are perceived as just as harmless and chewing gum.
Beyond listing the flavors, the JUUL website claims their liquids contain 5% nicotine, but what does that mean? While 5% sounds innocuous, a single JUUL pod actually contains enough liquid to sustain 200 puffs, approximately the amount of nicotine found in a full pack of cigarettes.
Another danger of vaping nicotine is that, as a unit, it is more difficult to break up into portions as a user. A pack of cigarettes can be cleanly broken up into the individual cigarettes, but a JUUL user must divide the pod into puffs, the number of which are less straightforward to consider when pacing oneself.

References

Allem, J., Dharmapuri, L., Unger, J. B., & Cruz, T. B. (2018). Characterizing JUUL-related posts on Twitter. Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Friedman, A. S. (2015.) How does electronic cigarette access affect adolescent smoking?, Journal of Health Economics
Gibson-Young, L. M., &Martinasek, M. (2018, June 1). JUULING: What kids don’t know will hurt them ...
Holliday, E., & J., G. T. (2016, June). Nicotine, adolescence, and stress: A review of how stress can modulate the negative consequences of adolescent nicotine abuse. ScienceDirect
Ibarra, Ana B.; Carolina Healthline. (2018, March 15). Juul e-cigarettes and teens: 'Health problem of the decade?'. CNN
JUUL Labs, Inc. Youth Education, Awareness, & Prevention. Juul.com.
Knopf, A. (2018). FDA warns against underage use of JUUL, cracks down on sales. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 34(6), 3-3. doi:10.1002/cbl.30300
Marcus, M. B. (2018, Sept. 13). Why Doctors Are Freaking Out About the JUUL, the Latest E-Cigarette Trend. Men’s Health.
Morean, M. E., Butler, E. R., Bold, K. W., Kong, G., Camenga, D. R., Cavallo, D. A., et al. (2018). Preferring more e-cigarette flavors is associated with e-cigarette use frequency among adolescents but not adults.
Swan, G. E., &Lessov-Schlaggar, C. N. (2007, August 10). The Effects of Tobacco Smoke and Nicotine on Cognition and the Brain.

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