Vaping was once thought to be a cool, healthy alternative to smoking. But that myth didn’t last for too long as people started hating vapers for being pretentious. However, a new study shows that vaping may still be popular among US teens despite some of the negative perception surrounding it. Only last month, a study conducted by the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, released by the Food and Drug Administration, revealed that vaping has reached epidemic proportions in the US. Now, a new report by the Institute for Social Research says that vaping among American teenagers continue to increase. But on the bright side, the use of drugs and other opioids has reduced in comparison. The report is based on an annual survey of drug and alcohol among eighth, 10th and 12th graders in the US. A total of 44, 428 students from 392 public and private schools across the country were studied. The study showed that vaping was the second commonest form of substance abuse after drinking.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the practice of inhaling vapours of nicotine through an e-cigarette. Unlike tobacco smoking, vaping doesn’t involve the same health hazards and is considered somewhat safe.
A vaping device comprises a mouthpiece, a battery, cartridges filled with vaping liquid. When the device is switched on, the cartridges containing the liquid are exposed to heat, creating vapours or aerosols, which are then inhaled.
Why Is It Hazardous?
According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, there has been a 78 percent increase in vaping among the youth between 2017 and 2018. The FDA has also said that vaping has reached epidemic proportions.
While it’s called a safer alternative to smoking, vaping does have its share of side effects. A small-scale experimental study by Professor David Thickett from the University of Birmingham showed that vaping could be damaging the human immune system. The study was published in Thorax, which said that the practice could be damaging vital immune cells. Is JUUL Safe?
A study published in April says that the flavouring agents or chemicals used in vaping liquids could be increasing free radicals and toxins that cause cancer. The damage can vary depending on the flavour. US FDA Seeks Ban on Flavoured E-Cigarettes As Teen Vaping Increases.
A team of researchers from the New York University School of Medicine also found that vaping could be dangerous and should not be promoted as a safer alternative to smoking. E-cigarette smokers also have a higher risk than non-smokers to develop lung and bladder cancer, and heart diseases, despite the myths surrounding vaping.
It’s encouraging to know that drug and alcohol use is decreasing among the teenagers, but the growing trend of vaping among the same age group could be troublesome for the above reasons.
Part of the popularity of vaping could stem from the fact that it’s promoted as a safer alternative and the notion that vaping could be good for health. Popular culture has also promoted vaping as a “cool” habit, which has led to its immense popularity among the said age group.
The USB-shaped vape pen can also be used discreetly without causing any suspicion. The flavours also add to the appeal among the youth. One way to control the hazards among the youth is to implement regulation of tobacco products by the FDA.