Northwest Missourian Opinion

Everybody knows the consequences of smoking and how it is bad for those around them. Some have even taken commendable steps to stop their bad habit through different means such as chewing nicotine gum, behavioral therapy or even quitting cold-turkey.

With the industry of electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes or e-cigarettes, the ways people have stopped smoking have increased. While I support those who genuinely want to quit and have looked to e-cigarettes as a temporary nicotine fix and reducer, these newer, trendier cigarettes have gone beyond their original use.

There are many who have used vapes for more recreational uses, and I can’t find myself agreeing with it.

While, yes, people have the right to do what they want with their own bodies, I’m advocating for those who have never tried a cigarette or been addicted to nicotine to not succumb to the peer pressure and persuasive whisper of  “it’s pink lemonade flavored.”

For the e-cigarette companies, the different flavorings were definitely a game changer. By giving vape cartridges unique flavors, they’re making it more marketable to not only those who were not interested in the product but also those who are underage.

According to the Nov. 9 YouTube episode of “The Philip DeFranco Show” titled “HUGE Crackdown & Ban Around the Corner as Juul Debate Escalates… Epidemic or Overblown?” Public Health Professor of the University of Waterloo David Hammond said, “I think we can tweak these products so they don’t bring new kids into the market but we can still make them available to adults. That probably means not having cotton candy flavor on the market.”

Reuter Business even tweeted Nov. 13 that the Juul e-cigarette brand is pulling out its sweeter flavors from U.S. retail stores.

This is monumental, as this means certain retailers are only able to sell three flavors: tobacco, mint and menthol flavors of Juul to the public. With the decrease in access to more entertaining flavors such as unicorn milk, gummy bears and various fruity concoctions, hopefully the draw towards e-cigarettes will also decrease for teenagers interested in the multiple flavors.

It has turned into a fad and “the cool thing” younger people are doing. E-cigarette companies are even advertising with online celebrities like Scott Disick, according to Philip DeFranco.

With Disick’s 20.7 million Instagram followers, e-cigarettes are able to garner more attention from younger generations since the amount of Instagram users increased about 5 percent since 2017 and is projected to increase up to almost 8 percent in 2022 and as of January 2018, 64 percent of Instagram users were around 18 to 29 years old according to statista.com.

To understand just how fast e-cigarettes have changed the smoking community, regular cigarettes have been around since 1847 according to Boston University Medical Center.

E-cigarettes, on the other hand, have made their way from China to Europe and finally to the U.S. in 2008, according to Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternative Association. Comparatively speaking, typical cigarettes have been around much longer, yet e-cigarettes have made huge waves in the smoking community just in the past ten years.

The impact of e-cigarettes has had such a widespread effect on the U.S. that it has easily become a $3.6 million industry, according to statista.com.

There are more than 2 million middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes, according to the FDA. That’s not even including those who are of legal age.

Despite the high amount of people using the e-cigarettes, it does not mean people should make it a lifestyle.

Just because e-cigarettes are scientifically proven to be less harmful than cigarettes, it does not mean they are harmless and safe to use every day. Honestly, due to the relatively short amount of time people have been using e-cigarettes, not enough research has been conducted on the long-term effects according to smokefree.gov.

These products also still have nicotine like regular cigarettes, just smaller traces of it. Even the e-cigarettes that are known to be nicotine-free are not free of harmful carcinogens found in typical cigarettes, according to The Washington Post.

While e-cigarettes have done a tremendous job in helping people quit smoking more easily, there are still many improvements that can be made in regards to how the e-cigarette industry functions.

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