Effects of Vaping on the Youth and Economy

Andrew Deen  |


According to Professor Anamara Ritt-Olson of the University of Southern California’s Online Master of Public Health Program, teens need more education regarding the health threats posed by vaping. Unfortunately, according to Ritt-Olson, media representation is making this unhealthy habit cool in the eyes of youth.

This trend disturbs Ritt-Olson, especially in light of the fact that health advocates have had a similar, long battle with cigarettes. In fact, Ritt-Olson suggests that it may be time to revisit the non-smoking ads of the 90s to combat the current vaping problem.

Today, many teens are turning to electronic cigarettes – also called vapes – to relieve stress. Like cigarettes, vaping also comes with inherent health risks. Duly, it’s important to get the message out that electronic cigarettes are not a healthy smoking alternative.

The growing trend of vaping is a major concern among health advocates and officials. It's so popular that it's created a lucrative market for the product and serving as a gateway drug to smoking cigarettes, bolstering that industry as well. Ritt-Olson says E-cigarettes were initially seen as a healthy thing. They were designed originally to help people quit smoking cigarettes. She thinks that perception – that they were a healthy alternative to cigarettes– contributed to the rapid increase.

Vaping is Becoming more Popular

Many of today's teens are underestimating the health risks of vaping. One factor influencing this trend is the Pod Mod. It’s a vaping device that looks like a USB drive and can be charged using a USB port.

Yale University researchers worry that youth don’t understand that they are consuming nicotine when vaping, which can lead to addiction. Studies show that teens are reluctant to smoke cigarettes because of the potential for addiction and health problems. However, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study reveals trends showing that the same group is increasingly starting to use vaping devices.

The CDC study shows that 8-percent of 10th graders and 3-percent of 8th graders vaped nicotine products in the previous month. The most troublesome revelation of the survey is that respondents believed that this was harmless. Ritt-Olson thinks we need more knowledge about the risks of vaping, education in school based programs, and messages woven into health curriculum to help combat and enforce new policies.

Unfortunately, Vapes Are the New Cigarettes

Mindfulness is essential for good health, especially for youth. Regrettably, vaping is a threat to the well-being of all individuals who use the product.

In general, the way that vapes work is straightforward. The devices typically use batteries that power heating elements which turn liquids into an aerosol. Users then inhale the aerosol. This is where the simplicity of the devices ends.

Manufacturers label vaping devices in many ways. This might include:

  • E-cigarettes
  • E-hookahs
  • Electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS)
  • Pod mods
  • Tanks
  • Vape pens

Furthermore, manufacturers may call their vaping liquids cartridges, e-juice, e-liquid, oil or pods.

The majority of vaping liquids contain chemicals such as propylene glycol and nicotine. Some even contain marijuana. Also, many vaping liquids contain artificial flavoring, resulting in a range of flavors that rivals sweetened candies, juices and sodas.

Some products, such as pod mods, pose an enhanced health risk because of manufacturers’ use of a form of vaping liquid made from the nicotine salts of loose tobacco, rather than the standard free-based nicotine found in e-cigarettes. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, this variant allows users to experience a more intense high and is also more addictive.

Researchers have studied e-cigarettes since their arrival in the United States in 2007 as a tool that could potentially help people quit smoking. Because e-cigarettes have fewer chemicals compared to regular cigarettes, manufacturers have promoted them as a healthy smoking alternative. This is misleading, however, because some vaping liquids still contain highly addictive nicotine.

Youth Vaping Is a Serious Problem

Academics note that cigarette smoking is highly unpopular among students. However, vaping is growing increasingly popular.

Across the nation, educators are increasingly punishing students for vaping. Despite this, students report that they can’t stop using the product. In light of the fact that manufacturers promote e-cigarettes as a resource for smoking cessation, this is a disturbing trend.

Researchers don’t know enough information about e-cigarettes to understand the health effects of using the product. In effect, today’s youth of the unwitting test subjects of how vaping will affect the long-term health of the population.

It’s disconcertingly easy for teens to access vaping devices. They’re available at convenience and department stores across the nation.

Researchers lament that this is promoting nicotine addiction among a new generation of youth. In fact, a National Institute on Drug Abuse report revealed that 12th grade students who are non-smokers but use e-cigarettes were four times as likely to start smoking regular cigarettes.

Stress May Contribute to Increased Vaping Among Youth

According to health advocates, stress is a large contributor to youth vaping. In fact, a recent survey has revealed that 27-percent of teens who participated in a recent study felt excessively stressed. Exercising and other activities may help people cope with stress, and improve their health and wellbeing without vaping.

Despite the preventative efforts of parents and educators, many students continue to vape. Moreover, many school officials believe that if teens didn’t have access to vapes, they wouldn’t inhale any form of nicotine.

Today, it’s illegal in the United States for anyone under the age of 18 to buy e-cigarettes. However, health advocates report that vape advertising campaigns seem to appeal definitively to younger generations.

A disturbing segment of teens believe that vaping is safe. Due to the novelty of the devices, many parents unfortunately feel the same way.

As youth vaping increases, so will the profits of manufacturers. For now, it appears that vaping manufacturers are winning the battle of minds and wallets among the nation’s youth. Hopefully, our society and communities can take a stronger stand against vaping and help keep these products out of the hands of kids.

DISCLOSURE: No compensation needed.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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