Vapes Are Dangerous, and This Is What We Should Do

Tanuj Sistla, Staff Writer

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With the recent increase in the frequency of vape-related illnesses, it’s clear that vapes are more dangerous and harmful than people seem to realize. It’s time to change the way these products are distributed. 

 

Vapes, or e-cigarettes, are devices that serve as an alternative to the traditional smoking of cigarettes. While these do not contain tobacco, they carry a liquid mixture of glycerin, nicotine, flavoring, and propylene glycol. Propylene glycol has been approved by the FDA for consumption, but it hasn’t been approved to be inhaled. 

 

If a product hasn’t even been approved by the FDA, it shouldn’t be available for purchase in the market. Until it is approved, it should be taken off shelves. 

 

Even if it was approved to be inhaled, this product is being distributed among today’s youth, not only jeopardizing their futures but the future of our society as well. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a 88% of smokers in the US started smoking when they are teenagers, meaning that teens are illegally getting access to cigarettes and vapes. At the same time, the USDHHS study showed that smoking during adolescence will harm the developing brain, causing consequences that last for a lifetime.

 

Smoking was also highest among people who graduated with a high school GED and lowest among people with college graduate degrees. Lower education is associated with a higher risk of smoking.

 

Smoking from a young age is what encourages people to continue buying cigarettes and vape products more as they grow older, thus fueling the market. By placing an excise tax on vape products, the youth are discouraged of trying nicotine products at a young age, due to how expensive it would be. 

 

This has proven to have worked in the past for cigarettes as well, specifically when President Barack Obama passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. This act raised the federal excise tax from $0.39 to $1.01 per pack. According to the CDC, a majority of people who smoke are low income. The same was said regarding vapes/e-cigarettes. This substantial increase in the tax rate of cigarettes proved more reactive among low income people, and as a result it substantially reduced the number of people smoking in the US. A similar act should be passed regarding vape products, which would largely decrease the demand for e-cigarettes, if not immediately then in the long run.

 

Additionally, it is imperative that the US government begins to put more money into the education system of the country. As a student living in Ashburn, Virginia, one of the richest towns in the US, it is easy to judge others in other areas for being reckless, succumbing to nicotine addiction, and disregarding the health risks of drug abuse. But this is not necessarily the truth as much as it is an ignorant perception. Not every area of the US has had access to the resources that Ashburn has had access to. There are hundreds of places in the US that lack the funding required to properly educate students on the dangers of nicotine and the health risks of drugs. If the government were to better fund the education system on a national level, everyone would be informed of the dangers of such products from a young age, therefore decreasing the demand for them in the future.

 

The illegal distribution of these products doesn’t just put people’s lives at risk; it puts the future of our society at risk. If we are to secure a better future for the children of today and the adults of tomorrow, it is essential that we take action in this manner soon.