Photo by: Dalton Spruce
The FDA’s crusade against youth vaping is warranted
November 14, 2018
A student glances at his watch: two minutes until the bell rings. He reaches into his pocket for his sleek, USB-shaped vaping pen and, just like the rest of his friends, fogs up the bathroom mirrors with pure nicotine. The group hears a new person walking into the bathroom and quickly put away their e-cigarettes, huddling together and staying silent until the person leaves, at which point they go right back to vaping. This scene is played out every day in just about every bathroom around the Bowie campus.
On September 12, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, began an aggressive anti-vaping campaign aimed towards deterring teen usage of popular vaping devices. Popular vaping companies, such as JUUL, MarkTen XL, Blu, and Logic, were given 60 days to submit “robust” plans to prevent youth vaping. If the FDA is not convinced by these companies, more stringent regulations will follow, including the banning of certain flavored vaping juices, prohibiting all online sales, regular inspections for retailers, and even possibly remove all e-cigarette products off the market, according to USA Today.
Personally, I think the FDA has taken the right approach in reducing vaping usage in teen groups. Vaping is very addictive to teenagers, it can be medically dangerous, and its use has grown exponentially over the past two years, making it a nationwide, or, in this case, a schoolwide epidemic.
The e-cigarettes, commonly known as “Juuls,” the most popular teen vaping company, work by heating liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor through their small, battery-powered bodies. What’s being in- haled isn’t harmless water vapor; it’s almost pure nicotine mixed with various other harmful chemicals, with as much as 50 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid, a level that rivals the addictiveness of heroin and cocaine.
For comparison, a traditional cigarette only has 12 milligrams of nicotine per mil- liliter of liquid. If cigarettes are considered to be highly addictive, then what would that make e-cigarettes?
According to USA Today, it took decades for the devastating effects of cigarettes to come to light in the public eye, whereas the vaping company JUUL has only been making products since 2015.
I think the FDA’s method is warranted because vaping is turning teenagers into nicotine addicts at a young age, potentially setting them up for drug addiction later on in life.
It is commonly thought that smoking an e-cigarette is not nearly as bad as smoking a real one, but this is not entirely true when it comes to developing adolescents. As I’ve already discussed, vaping releases levels of nicotine that matches the addictiveness of powerful drugs such as heroin and cocaine
In addition, e-cigarettes have been known to release toxic chemicals, many of which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart diseases, according to Health-line. Some of these fine particulates from the vape include traces of lead, tin, and nickel, all of which are damaging to the human brain if ingested.
Speaking of damage to the human brain, breathing in large amounts of nicotine has been observed to alter brain growth in developing teenagers the same way alcohol would.
In addition to all of this, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry says that vaping e-cigarettes has the same effect on one’s teeth and gums as smoking real cigarettes and is linked with numerous oral diseases.
Looking at the consequences of youth vaping makes it obvious why the FDA has chosen to take a stance against e-cigarettes in adolescent groups.
One argument against the FDA’s crusade on vaping is that vaping can serve as a substitute to smoking for former cigarette smokers. This is a very valid argument that the FDA has taken into consideration when starting its anti-vaping-for-youth campaign.
One way in which the FDA is address- ing this issue is by applying its anti-vaping advertisements in strategically placed lo- cations that only teenagers are exposed to, such as school bathrooms and social media pages, purposefully avoiding public television to stay under the radar of adult vapers. Although vaping can be just as harmful as smoking, vaping can be considered the “lesser of two evils” when it comes to long-term adult addiction.
Youth vaping has swept across the US like an epidemic, affecting every school in the nation, including Bowie. The FDA is doing the right thing by attempting to put a stop to this issue, and it needs to happen because vaping is addictive, medically dangerous, and could set the pathway to drug addiction later on in its users’ lives.